28 April 1998
Feed firms deny responsibility for BSE

ANIMAL feed-mill representatives denied responsibility for the BSE crisis at the inquiry into the disease, in London yesterday.

They claimed their reluctance to tell farmers that they were turning cattle into cannibals was necessary for commercial success.

The National Farmers Union, in written evidence, said the union did not accept the argument that it was difficult for manufacturers to provide a precise lists of ingredients. And the NFU also disputed their claims that listing the ingredients would have exposed their secret formulations to competitors.

Jim Reed, director-general, of the UK Agricultural Supply Trade Association, said it was not feasible to provide labels detailing exact proportions of meat-and-bone meal (MBM) because computer technology only made it possible to do so at the start of this decade.

He said feed companies could not distinguish whether meat and bone meal came originally from cows or sheep, because both passed through the rendering process and were simply delivered as “MBM”.

  • The Independent 28/04/98 page 6