19 November 1998
Edwina attacks MAFF as ‘blockheadly ignorant’

EDWINA CURRIE, the former Health Minister, lived up to her reputation for speaking her mind when she lambasted MAFF officials for being “blockheadly ignorant”.

In written evidence to the BSE inquiry, Mrs Currie said the entire approach of MAFF during the BSE crisis was “crass, incompetent, hostile, [and] dangerous”.

Mrs Currie accused the ministry as setting itself up as a “trade union” for farmers, believing that the public was “stupid” and incapable of grasping the difference between different levels of risk from beef.

She criticised the Ministrys apparent aversion to the development of a test for BSE, suggesting that officials were afraid of what the results might be.

Mrs Currie left office in December 1988 after provoking a dramatic slump in egg sales with her contention that most egg production in Britain was infected with salmonella.

All the ministers of Agriculture during the former Conservative Government are due to give evidence to the inquiry.