Beef safety compromised, says former CMO

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 17 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1031
  1. John Warden, parliamentary correspondent BMJ

    For five years at the height of Britain's crisis over bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), government assurances that beef was safe to eat were based on a false assumption that abattoir surveillance was being enforced, the official inquiry into BSE was told in London this week.

    Sir Kenneth Calman, who was until recently England's chief medical officer and who since 1991 issued at least five public assurances that beef was safe, revealed to the inquiry his concern at being told for the first time in late 1995 that on four occasions spinal cord had been found still attached to bovine carcases at abattoirs, in contravention of the law. This meant that potentially contaminated …

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