When MPs chicken out over beef

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 15 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1502

As with the dog that didn't bark in the night, so suspicion is raised when MPs remain silent on what is currently the most politically explosive health issue. Two Commons select committees have backed away from producing any report after an all party inquiry into the possibility of a link between bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in British cattle and a new strain of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans.

This so called beef crisis has dominated European politics for the past three months, ever since the health secretary, Stephen Dorrell, told parliament on 20 March that his expert advisers had concluded that a linkage with BSE is “the most likely explanation” of the new pattern of cases of CJD, though there remains no scientific proof. Short of …

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