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Food standards after the BSE Inquiry report…a worrying problem for public health
  1. S Dealler
  1. Burnley General Hospital, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S Dealler, Wyndhurst, Pendlehurst Street, Burnley BB11 4RL, UK;

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Lessons to be learnt after the BSE Inquiry Report

The population of the Earth is considered to have increased from 1.5 billion to 6 billion over the past 100 years and yet the production of food has been adequate. The racing of farming technology, genetics, chemistry, and international markets against the progressive shortage of fertile land has led to several factors. If a farmer in the UK wants to sell his potatoes to supermarkets, he is in competition with the prices from Argentina, where land and staff are cheaper. As a result, if there is a method to increase his output even by 5% then his profits soar. So, if a method appears that does just this, then the farmer must take it up. He must take short-term decision and cannot sell his produce if he does not; otherwise his rent and costs will grow past his income and he will be bankrupt. Because of this, the UK Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) was under intense pressure to lean on the side of the producer.

In March 1996 an announcement was made in The House of Commons of a short series of cases of a new form of spongiform encephalopathy found in young people in the UK starting in 1995. At this point it was realised that the Department of Health had not been informed of the calculated risks …

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