08 December 1998
Gummer tells how he delayed offal ban
By FWi staff
FORMER agriculture minister John Gummer today (Tuesday) revealed how he delayed implementing Government plans for an offal ban during the BSE crisis.
Mr Gummer, who was agriculture minister from 1989-1992, told the BSE inquiry that he was initially unaware of any scientific evidence that such a ban was necessary.
But a report by the Governments Southwood Committee on BSE had already suggested that offal should be banned.
The report had been submitted seven months earlier to Mr Gummers predecessor, John Macgregor.
Mr Macgregor supported the idea of a ban, but was reshuffled from the Ministry of Agriculture before it could be imposed.
Once in office, Mr Gummer decided that the bans implementation was not urgent, despite increasing numbers of cattle with BSE.
The offal ban was eventually implemented in November 1989, a delay which Mr Gummer attributed to long periods of consultation with local authorities.