Abattoirs ignored BSE safeguards

22 September 1998

Abattoirs ignored BSE safeguards

By FWi staff

MEAT products at risk of being infected by mad cow disease were entering the food chain as recently as three years ago, a former Government vet has claimed.

Andrew Fleetwood, who used to work as a MAFF vet, said in written evidence to the BSE inquiry that abattoirs and rendering plants blatantly ignored laws designed to prevent the spread of BSE.

Mr Fleetwood said infected meat could have entered the human food-chain as recently as 1995 – six years after laws were introduced to stop the risk of BSE passing to humans.

Government inspectors failed to ensure that spinal cords of dead animals were always removed from carcasses, said Mr Fleetwood. He said junior inspectors who checked abattoirs were often “browbeaten” by managers.

Mr Fleetwood accused senior officials and former Government ministers of ignoring his warnings that the law was being breached. He will be questioned on his claims at the BSE inquiry tomorrow (Wednesday).

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