02 December 1998
Minister ‘over-rode officials to ban offal’

JOHN MCGREGOR, the former Conservative agriculture minister, will tell the inquiry into bovine spongiform encephalopathy that he over-rode scientific advisers to ban offal from food supplies in 1989.

He was concerned that offal from cattle that did not show classic “mad cow” signs but were still incubating the disease was going into food, according to written evidence given to the inquiry ahead of his oral presentation.

Independent advisers on the Southwood committee, which reported in February 1989, and some senior civil servants saw no reason to recommend prohibition.

The committee had suggested that baby-food manufacturers should avoid some offal, but had not recommended a legal ban in February. He made the decision to ban the “Southwood” offals of all bovine animals on 9 June.

  • The Guardian 02/12/98 page 7