31 March 1998
Tories ‘too slow to react’ to BSE crisis

By Press Association

THE Tory Governments decision not to set up an independent national committee to scrutinise animal feed “undoubtedly contributed” to the severity of the BSE crisis, a minister claimed yesterday.

Lord Carter, for the current Government, told the Lords at question time that the previous Government had been pressed in 1992 and 1996 by a committee headed by Professor Lamming to set up an independent national body to investigate animal feed in relation to human health.

“I have to say sadly that the decision of the previous Government not to implement the Lamming recommendation undoubtedly contributed to the feeding of infected meal, after it was banned, with the results that we all know on the incidence and severity of the BSE outbreak,” he said.

The Government are now making appointments to a new committee, as recommended by Professor Lamming.

Lord Carter told peers that within the last two years, following the crisis, 90% of animal feeds had their contents declared in full.

An independent inquiry is under way, headed by Sir Nicholas Phillips, into the outbreak of “mad cow disease” and the human equivalent new variant CJD, thought to be caused by eating infected beef.