Beef and pork from Austria that is suspected to be unfit to eat has been distributed to 10 other countries.
Austrian authorities searched a slaughterhouse in Styria in late October and suspect that meat unfit for human consumption has entered the food chain. The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) has not responded to a request for comment.
Meat from the slaughterhouse was delivered to states including Styria, Lower Austria, Vienna, Salzburg and Carinthia. Veterinary and food authorities are checking distribution channels including bulk buyers and manufacturing companies.
Distribution in Europe
A notification on the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) portal shows that it was also sent to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
A Food Standards Agency spokesman told Food Safety News that it had received a RASFF notification from Austrian authorities that meat not fit for human consumption had been distributed to other countries.
Seventeen pigs and one cow that were slaughtered were found not to have the required health marks.
“Any products made from this meat are not considered to be fit for human consumption. The meat is not allowed to enter the food chain and should be withdrawn from the market,” the spokesman said.
“The implicated meat first went to a business in Croatia who in turn distributed spare ribs products to one business in the U.K. The local authority confirmed it had not been distributed further or sold to consumers.”
Animals are examined before and meat is inspected after slaughter. If meat complies with requirements of veterinary and food law, it is given a health stamp. If, after slaughtering, the carcass does not comply with legal requirements, it must be stored separately, marked unfit for human consumption and not go into the food chain.
Recalls in Slovenia
Slovenian authorities reported the meat of 18 animals slaughtered from Sept. 17 to Oct. 22 could have been placed on the market without meeting regulatory requirements. From slaughterhouse records, Austrian officials have not been able to determine what dates are affected so requested withdrawal of all meat placed on the market during that period.
The Slovenian Food, Veterinary and Plant Protection Administration (UVHVVR) said it was informed of the issue via the RASFF alert and food businesses have started withdrawing meat products including sausages as there are concerns about the raw materials.
The current list shows 15 companies are affected including Mercator, Hofer, Lidl Slovenija, Vigros d.o.o. and TMK Košaki. While most items have best before dates of this year some last until April 2020.
Suppliers named in recalls include Mesarija Mlinarič d.o.o., Josef Reiner GmbH & Co KG, Fleischhof Raabtal and Ramsauer Fleisch GmbH.
Earlier this year a Polish meat abattoir was filmed slaughtering sick cows and meat was sent to 15 EU member states. With veterinary controls not carried out as required, the bovine meat was presumed to be unfit for consumption.
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