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Warnings about BSE

This article is over 21 years, 6 months old
Issue 1706

Warnings about BSE

A CLUSTER of cases of the human form of the BSE “mad cow” disease was identified last week in the Leicestershire village of Queniborough. There has also been a sharp rise in the total number of cases of variant CJD (human BSE). Some 67 cases are now confirmed, 60 percent up on a year ago. CJD is almost certainly caused by eating BSE-infected beef products.

In the 1980s big business, backed up by Tory deregulation policies, used ground-up diseased sheep and cattle to make cheap animal feed. Only in 1996 did the Tory government finally act. Socialist Worker warned then that controls were inadequate, and that beef should be banned until proven safe. We warned that manufacturers were using possibly infected meat in cheap products, including baby food and school meals. We were criticised by some for scaremongering.

Yet last week Robert Will of the government’s CJD surveillance unit warned that the cheap meat used in baby foods, burgers, pies and sausages could account for the high number of CJD cases among young people. The same business interests responsible for BSE now tell us that genetically modified crops are safe. Dare you believe them?

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