5 September 1997

Solicitor calls for inquiry into BSE/CJD link

CALLS for the government to launch a public inquiry into the history of BSE and its possible link with the new variant of the human brain disease CJD have been made by the solicitor representing the families of 17 of the 21 victims.

David Body, of Sheffield-based Irwin Mitchell solicitors, said that he had written to farm minister, Jack Cunningham, asking for an inquiry. Mr Body added that he felt a High Court judge could determine the case within 15-18 months.

The Food Standards Agency, which could call an inquiry, would not be up and running for two years, he added.

Junior farm minister Jeff Rooker said the government had not ruled out a public inquiry, and that discussions on the possibility continued.

lLatest figures show that there were 2058 confirmed cases of BSE in Britain up to Aug 29. That compares with 8016 cases recorded for the whole of 1996. &#42