18 November 1998
Currie slams ‘blockheadedly ignorant’ MAFF over BSE

By FWi staff

MAFF officials “connived at the worst operations in farming and animal husbandry” and were “blockheadedly ignorant” of good practice elsewhere in their approach to BSE, says Tory ex-minister Edwina Currie.

Mrs Currie – due to give oral evidence to the Inquiry on Monday (23 November) – was health minister between 1986 and 1988.

In her written statement, published today (Wednesday), she attacked the agriculture ministry, writing, “I consider that the entire approach of MAFF from the 1980s onward to issues of public health linked to infection in the food chain was wrong.

“It was crass, incompetent, hostile, dangerous and compounded problems instead of eradicating them.”

She goes on to criticise “poor contacts at ministerial level between MAFF and the Department of Health, and the lack of respect for the overriding public health interest”, which “led to a catastrophic outcome in more than one field”.

“The Ministry [of Agriculture] had long set itself up as the trade union for producers,” she alleges in her statement.