17 January 2001
Brown ‘ignores old-beef BSE risk’

By FWi staff

MINISTERS have been accused of ignoring the risk to shoppers from cheap imports of old beef, reports the Daily Express.

Farm minister Nick Brown admitted that no record is kept of imported beef products made from cattle aged over 30 months old – those most as risk form BSE.

Shadow farm minister Tim Yeo said the admission exposed another chink in the countrys defences against the disease.

It is legal to import beef from cattle aged over 30 months old, but illegal to sell it for human consumption in Britain.

But a loophole makes it quite legal to import processed beef products from cattle over 30 months old and sell them on, despite the health risk being the same.

Meanwhile, writing in the Financial Times Guy de Jonquieres and Dan Bilefsky consider the BSE panic sweeping Europe.

They blame the crisis on food safety being entrusted to officials committed to safeguarding farming interests, and national governments putting sovereignty before safety.