20 October 1998
Second document held back from BSE Inquiry

MAFF is withholding an internal report on the disease from the BSE Inquiry, according to press reports.

The North Report, prepared by senior civil servants in 1996, was intended to assess the needs of any future inquiry into the epidemic.

The reports follows the refusal yesterday (Monday) by Keith Meldrum, the Governments former chief veterinary officer, to give the Inquiry a tape of his comments about ministers handling of the BSE crisis.

Mr Meldrum was asked to reconsider his position. He said: “I dont know yet. Ill give it some thought.”

He said comments “of a personal nature about my family, about myself” were covered by the taped interview.

Mr Meldrum attacked criticisms that the ministry had downplayed the risk to human health. “Those that suggest we tended to adopt policies that would favour the agricultural industry … to some extent, ignore the consumer … would be wrong.”