17 March 1998
BSE expert slams MAFFs ‘culture of secrecy’

ALMOST 250,000 cattle may have been infected needlessly with BSE because of a “culture of secrecy” at the Ministry of Agriculture, the BSE Inquiry heard yesterday.

Roy Anderson, professor of epidemiology at Oxford University, said the figure represented a quarter of all animals infected to date. Nearly 800,000 infected cattle entered the food chain during the crisis, he claimed.

Prof Anderson told the inquiry that he had just completed a thorough analysis of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (nvCJD). Ignorance of the diseases incubation period means there is little scientific certainty whether any possible epidemic will be small or large, he said.

The Financial Times leader column says the question of how politicians should deal with complex issues such as BSE is unlikely to disappear. The BSE Inquiry must shed light on these issues to provide guidance for dealing with similar dilemmas in future, the column says.

  • Financial Times 17/03/98 page 10, page 23 (Leader)
  • The Times 17/03/98 page 8
  • The Independent 17/03/98 page 2
  • The Daily Telegraph 17/03/98 page 2