05 February 1999
Continued bone-in ban attracts flak

THE government has been under fire for its decision not to end the 14-month ban on beef on the bone.

Nick Brown, Agriculture Minister, told the House of Commons that the ban would stay for at least six months.

Opposition MPs accused the government of being inconsistent, and of ignoring independent advice on some food safety issues while accepting it on others.

Mr Brown said he had been advised by the Chief Medical Officer Professor Liam Donaldson that there was still a small, though reduced risk of becoming infected with the human form of “mad cow” disease from eating bone-in beef.

The professor voiced concern that a few cattle infected with BSE by their mothers might still be entering the food chain.

Ben Gill, president of the National Farmers Union, said the decision to keep the ban defied common sense and was out of all proportion to any risk involved.