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Removal of spinal column from cattle and sheep carcasses

Contract number : QLK1-2001-01259
Contract type : Shared Cost Project
Total cost : € 1.499.049
EC contribution : € 680.579
Starting date : not yet determined
Duration : 18 Months
Scientific Officer : Antonio di Giulio
Project website : not yet available
Dr Andrew Knight
Silsoe Research Institute
Bio-Engineering Division
Livestock Engineering Group
Wrest Park, Silsoe
MK45 4HS Bedford
United Kingdom
Tel.: +441525860000
Fax: +441525861735
E-mail: andy.knight @

Regulations are required in all EU states to ensure that spinal card material and spinal column in some states is removed from cattle and sheep carcasses. Carcasses are contaminated with CNS material during conventional splitting operations, and washing does not remove the contamination. A novel saw, for complete removal of the vertebral column from inside the eviscerated carcass before splitting, has been developed under laboratory conditions; this ensures that all cord material remains encased in bone. Prototype saws for cattle and sheep carcasses will be used to validate the above laboratory results under commercial slaughterhouse conditions. Functional tests, will evaluate the commercial viability of this new approach and the results will be used in an economic appraisal. The main objective of this project is to ensure that the results are disseminated to an extended audience across the EU.

  • A new technique for removal of spinal column from cattle and sheep carcasses.
  • To construct demonstration equipment, conduct proving trials to validate the oval saw under commercial slaughter conditions and conduct an economic analysis.
  • To disseminate the results to an extended audience.

It is generally accepted that the same agent causes BSE in cattle and vCJD in humans. Controls are designed to prevent the parts of slaughtered animals most likely to contain the BSE agent from entering the food chain, but current practices are inadequate. The Action aims to provide a healthy food supply and acknowledges that undesirable components pose a challenge to the safety of food.


Avocet Engineering Services Ltd.
Unit 2 Elborough Farm, Banwell Road, Locking
BS24 8PB Weston-Super-Mare
United Kingdom
Freund Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co.
Schulze-Delitzsch-Straße 38
33100 Paderborn
The University of Bristol
Department of Clinical Veterinary Science
Langford House
BS40 7DU Bristol
United Kingdom
Universität Rostock
Institute for Agricultural Economics and Engineering
Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 7
18051 Rostock
Association pour le Développement de l'Institut de la Viande
2 Rue Chappe
63036 Clermont Ferrand Cedex 2
Norwegian Meat Cooperative
Department of Research and Development
PO Box 360
0513 Oslo Cedex Økern
Anglo Beef Processors Ltd
Northampton Road, Blisworth
NN7 3DR Northampton
United Kingdom

Fifth Framework Programme

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