25 September 2000
Did MAFF gaffe start blood scare?

By Marianne Curtis

A MAFF gaffe may be responsible for an article appearing in The Sunday Times suggesting recent suspected cases of BSE are linked to cows being fed blood.

The article says that Ministry of Agriculture figures reveal that 22,000t of cow material, including blood, gelatin and tallow, are fed to cows each year.

But MAFF is currently unable to substantiate this claim, says a spokesperson.

“We know 3000t a year of dried blood product is produced from the UK rendering industry, but this is not the same as it being fed to cattle.”

“We are currently investigating what information we supplied to the Sunday Times journalist some months ago,” said the spokesperson

“If we discover that he has reported inaccurately, we can complain.”

But a spokesperson for the UK Renderers Association insists that blood is not used in UK animal feed.

“Blood from UK abattoirs is either spread on land, used in horticulture, exported or incinerated.”

The report is yet another blow to farmers, retailers and animal feed companies who have worked so hard to ensure that UK food products are traceable, says Pamela Mounter of UKASTA.

“Feed companies dont use blood in animal feed in the UK; major retailers simply wont have it.

“When this kind of report appears, it is sad for UK farmers, feed companies and retailers who have worked so hard to restore confidence in British produce.”

Although EU law permits the use of blood in animal feed Mike Attenborough, technical director at the MLC, says it isnt happening.

“Scientists say that bovine blood is a safe product as far as BSE is concerned.

“Although the law permits it to be used in animal feed, extensive discussions that I have had with feed companies indicate that it isnt being used.

“The article isnt based on science.”