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To investigate the potential use of food quality colourings (dyes) for staining vertebral columns of over thirty month cattle presented for slaughter and human consumption
Project Code: M03036
University of Bristol
The rapid decline in the BSE epidemic, prompting a review of the Over Thirty Month (OTM) rule has resulted in proposed changes that will require the testing of all OTM cattle, with only those testing negative for BSE being allowed into the food chain. However the dorsal root ganglia and the vertebral column (VC) from these cattle will be designated as SRM and not permitted to enter the food chain. To enable butchery staff to identify carcasses that require VC removal, a simple method of marking the appropriate carcasses is required. The options available are the use of food quality colours (dyes) or to physically mark the vertebrae by mechanically scoring a groove along the entire length of the column. Several dyes were evaluated but due to poor visibility and cross contamination of unstained carcasses it was concluded that staining the cut vertebral surface with dyes was unsatisfactory. Staining the spinal canal using meat marking pencils or applying a green dye with a narrow brush were found to be effective as was cutting a groove in the vertebrae, these methods were considered to offer a realistic solution.
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