Document Directory

08 Nov 00 - CJD - Best not to Gloat
08 Nov 00 - CJD - Chirac backs feed ban as France braces for more CJD deaths
08 Nov 00 - CJD - Mother says CJD victim was 'devil for McDonald's'
08 Nov 00 - CJD - Inquest told that CJD victim loved her burgers
08 Nov 00 - CJD - France braced for vCJD crisis
07 Nov 00 - CJD - BSE gives the French food for thought
07 Nov 00 - CJD - CJD nightmare causes consumer panic in France
07 Nov 00 - CJD - Storms are Man's fault, says Prince
06 Nov 00 - CJD - French fear home-grown beef
06 Nov 00 - CJD - French in panic over 'smuggled' British cattle feed
06 Nov 00 - CJD - Prince Charles blames mankind for rain and BSE
05 Nov 00 - CJD - BSE panic reaches France
05 Nov 00 - CJD - British organ donors face ban
05 Nov 00 - CJD - Britain resists demands for ban on French beef
05 Nov 00 - CJD - BSE warning that fell on deaf ears
04 Nov 00 - CJD - CJD: no link to eating beef is found
04 Nov 00 - CJD - CJD 'cluster' villagers still buy beef
04 Nov 00 - CJD - Paris to ban beef on the bone as BSE fears grow
03 Nov 00 - CJD - Paris schools ban beef
03 Nov 00 - CJD - The Victims



08 Nov 00 - CJD - Best not to Gloat

Mad-Cow Correspondent

Mad-Cow Correspondent ... Wednesday 8 November 2000


Some British newspapers have shown little sympathy for the public panic in France over CJD caused by the increase in numbers of cattle detected infected with BSE, because of the illegal French ban on importing British beef. Yet perhaps Brits should look at their own situation first:

- The anodyne Philips report blames institutional failures but no individual politicians or Civil Servants . With their traditional un-accountability intact why should they change their ways?

- The "independent" Food Safety Agency is 90% staffed by MAFF Civil Servants and headed up by a political appointee who is known for his pro-GM crops stance.

- After a decade and a half of assurances that milk and dairy products are safe, it now turns out that it has been known for years that calves have been infected by their mothers milk but there has been no research to confirm that milk is safe. Prions are carried by white blood cells and cows suffer from mastitis, so the route of infectivity is clear. MAFF, who deliberately misled the public in order to protect the farming industry, have now funded the necessary research.

- Fertiliser made of meat and bone meal is banned on farms where there are cattle, sheep, or horses. Also, it is illegal to use such fertiliser on crops grown for consumption by cattle, sheep, and horses. However, it may still be used perfectly legally for crops grown for human beings, in other words fertiliser contaminated with BSE has been diverted into the human food chain !

Regarding the increased numbers of French cattle detected with BSE, this is because France is testing its entire cattle herd for BSE with a Swiss test, which is also mandatory for carcasses intended for human consumption in Ireland and Switzerland.

The UK, home of BSE where more cattle go down with BSE every month than the French detect in a year, is testing neither herds nor carcasses intended for human consumption . We can be fairly sure the French results would be trivial compared with those of the UK.

Thanks to the Philips whitewash, as far as MAFF is concerned human lives are still a worthwhile price to pay to protect the farming industry . As food for thought, here are some relevant figures:

- consuming half a gramme of infected material will kill sheep;

- consuming one gramme of infected material will kill cattle;

- well over a hundred thousand tonnes on infected material have entered the human food chain

- on average every, every UK citizen has consumed 50 meals contaminated with BSE.


08 Nov 00 - CJD - Chirac backs feed ban as France braces for more CJD deaths

Jon Henley in Paris

Guardian ... Wednesday 8 November 2000


President Jacques Chirac intervened in France's spiralling beef crisis yesterday as the junior health minister, Dominique Gillot, warned people to expect many more deaths from new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is believed to come from the meat of cows infected with BSE.

Amid mounting consumer fears about the safety of French beef, Mr Chirac was joined by the daily Le Monde in calling for an immediate ban on the use of meat and bone meal in animal feed, a measure adopted by Britain in 1996.

Most French cases of BSE - bovine spongiform encephalopathy, colloquially known in France as vache folle, or mad cow disease - have been traced to cattle eating feed containing such meal, intended for pigs or chickens .

Two people have so far died of new variant CJD (vCJD) in France, compared with 80 in Britain, but a threefold increase in the number of BSE cases identified in cattle this year, combined with a hypermarket chain's admission that it had unwittingly sold several tonnes of suspect beef , have sparked near panic in consumers and school authorities.

"With the increase in the number of cases of mad cow disease discovered in France, it is highly likely that we will have several dozen cases of vCJD," Ms Gillot said. "We must prepare for that. The number of people showing possible symptoms of the disease is rising. "

Amid what the agriculture minister, Jean Glavany, called a "national psychosis" , beef sales have plummeted by as much as 40% ; mayors in a dozen main towns and cities have banned beef from school canteens; restaurants have dropped beef on the bone from their menus; and the Socialist-led government faces at least two lawsuits accusing it of failing to take adequate action to keep BSE out of France.

José Bové, a leading anti-globalisation campaigner who supports the return to traditional farming methods, wants every agriculture minister since 1988 put in the dock as "accessories" to the illegal importation of 14,000 tonnes of British meat and bone meal to France between 1993 to 1996, in defiance of a ban imposed in 1990.

Separately, the parents of a 19-year-old man believed to be suffering from vCJD plan to sue the state for "poisoning " their son, who was featured in a harrowing French TV documentary broadcast on Monday.

The government has asked the national food safety agency, Afssa, to assess whether the ban on meat and bone meal in cattle feed should be extended to mixtures fed to pigs and chickens.

But Mr Chirac does not want to wait the three to four months the agency is expected to take to deliver its verdict.

"In my opinion, without waiting for the results, we must suspend use of these meals in all animals feeds," he said on TV.

Le Monde agreed. "This consumer panic is certainly excessive and perhaps unjustified," it said. "But it is indispensable that steps be taken rapidly to allay people's fears . A ban on meat and bone meal in all ani mal feed is being studied by the experts - but there are times when experts must be pushed."

The government's director of public health, Lucien Abenhaim, insisted that "if there was a serious problem in butchers' cabinets, rest assured I would take the necessary action". But Ms Gillot was less reassuring.

"I can't say 'don't worry' to people who ask me about it, because it's true that the prion [rogue protein particle] that causes both BSE and vCJD is a formidable infectious agent," she said. "We do not know all its modes of transmission, and we have no treatment for it." Chirac backs feed ban as France braces for more CJD deaths


08 Nov 00 - CJD - Mother says CJD victim was 'devil for McDonald's'

Emma Brockes

Guardian ... Wednesday 8 November 2000


A 20-year-old woman who died from the human form of mad cow disease was a "devil for McDonald's" and ate Campbell's meatballs more than anyone else in her family, an inquest was told yesterday.

Kirsty Garven , a financial administration officer at Marks & Spencer, from Chester, died in July after showing symptoms of vCJD for a year .

The coroner at the inquest which looked into the deaths of three people from vCJD recorded a verdict of misadventure and said that the man and two women had died "unnatural deaths."

In the first inquest to be held since publication of the Phillips Report into the BSE crisis, Crewe coroner's court heard how Ms Garven, 20 , Thomas Gemmel, 17 , and Alison Thorpe, 25 - all residents of Cheshire - had died of the disease within two years of each other.

The first victim was Alison Thorpe from Macclesfield, who began showing symptoms of vCJD in 1997 but was not properly diagnosed until months before her death.

Doctors at Manchester Royal Infirmary believed she was suffering from anorexia. Her mother, Susan Hodge, eventually took her to see a specialist. She died at home in August, 1998.

Thomas Gemmel , from Northwich, was wrongly diagnosed with growing pains in May 1998, when he was 15. "He became very unstable and couldn't walk without two people holding him," his father, Robert Gemmel, told the inquest.

The inquest heard how Thomas, who died in February, had enjoyed a balanced diet of meat and vegetables.

But Kirsty Garven's mother said she was a "devil for McDonald's ", and loved Campbell's meatballs more than anyone else in her family.

The 20-year-old showed symptoms of vCJD for a year before she died, the inquest heard. The first signs appeared during a holiday in Gran Canaria last year.

The coroner, Nicholas Rheinberg, said that all three had died "unnatural deaths" caused by vCJD from contaminated beef in the food chain.

Mrs Hodge complained that lack of health authority care had left the family to deal with her daughter's illness on their own.

Mr Rheinberg said the BSE enquiry had prompted the medical profession to implement a better system of care.

Kirsty Garven's mother, Jennifer, said: "We will never recover from this. Any family that has seen someone gradually deteriorate will never forget it."


08 Nov 00 - CJD - Inquest told that CJD victim loved her burgers

By Jane Merrick

Independent ... Wednesday 8 November 2000


A woman aged 20 who died from the human form of BSE was a "devil for McDonald's " and ate Campbell's Meatballs more than anyone else in her family, an inquest was told yesterday.

Kirsty Garven , a Marks & Spencer financial administration officer from Chester, died in July after showing symptoms of variant Creutzfelt-Jakob disease for a year.

Her mother, Jennifer Garven, told Crewe Coroner's Court that her eldest daughter had eaten a normal diet throughout her childhood and whatever the family ate at home. She added: "Kirsty was a devil for McDonald's . She would go out at night and have a burger ."

The inquest, the first since the publication last month of the Phillips Report into the BSE crisis, also considered the deaths of Alison Thorpe , 25, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, and Thomas Gemmel , 17, of Northwich, Cheshire.

The Cheshire coroner, Nicholas Rheinberg, was told that Ms Thorpe began showing symptoms of vCJD in 1997 and became worse over the following year until her death at home in August 1998.

In the final case, the inquest was told that Mr Gemmel had eaten "normal food", both meat and vegetables, throughout his life. When he first showed symptoms in May 1998, aged 15 , doctors believed he simply had "growing pains".He died in February this year.

Mr Rheinberg said all three had died "unnatural deaths" caused by vCJD from contaminated beef in the food chain. He recorded a verdict of misadventure in each case.

* Experts from the National CJD Surveillance Unit told a public meeting last night in Queniborough, Leicestershire, that the meat supply chain was the most likely cause of five fatal cases of vCJD connected to the village . Reporting their interim findings, the experts said they had so far failed to link the cases to a single source.


08 Nov 00 - CJD - France braced for vCJD crisis

By Patrick Bishop in Paris

Telegraph ... Wednesday 8 November 2000


France has been told to brace itself for an outbreak of variant Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease, the human form of BSE in cattle, similar to that in Britain.

Dominique Gillot, the Health Minister, predicted that "tens of cases" could be expected. The warning came as politicians, led by President Jacques Chirac, scrambled to allay public panic by demanding action on BSE.

M Chirac called on television for an immediate ban on feed containing animal remains, which is suspected of spreading BSE. Though outlawed in Britain, it is legal in France for raising pigs and chickens. Lionel Jospin, the Prime Minister, rejected an immediate ban, but told the National Assembly that the government was examining ways to bring in a workable ban with the least possible delay.

"We hear the strong concerns of our citizens," said M Jospin, noting that the government had asked the food safety agency AFSSA to evaluate whether France's ban on using meat and bone meal in cattle feed should be extended to all animals.

More local authorities announced yesterday that they were barring beef from school canteens and old peoples' homes . The government's new estimate of the extent of the problem came from Mme Gillot in a newspaper interview yesterday.

She told Le Parisien: "You only have to look and see what is happening in England. Today they have 85 cases of CJD, of which 80 are dead. With the increase in the number of cases of mad cow disease in France it is highly probable that we will see several tens of cases of CJD. We have to prepare ourselves."

The government has acknowledged only two vCJD deaths and there are no official figures on the number of people afflicted. Mme Gillot's prediction came after the family of a young man known only as Arnaud, who is apparently dying of vCJD, said they were suing the government for "poisoning" him.

Arnaud's mother told a television documentary that doctors advised her not to panic people by talking about his illness. She said: "They didn't want it known that there were other cases in France." Mme Gillot said that it seemed Arnaud might be infected, but "we can't be absolutely sure until after he has died and we have performed a biopsy on his brain".

Germany said last night that it might ban beef imports from any European Union country failing to apply strict rules on labelling. Andrea Fischer, the health minister, said: "Measures, including the banning of imports, will be studied for each country that fails to label British beef."


07 Nov 00 - CJD - BSE gives the French food for thought

Jon Henley in Paris

Guardian ... Tuesday 7 November 2000


Amid writs and horror stories, a nation of food lovers is up in arms over BSE.

The French are not by nature a litigious nation, but amid an ever-escalating consumer fears about the safety of their steak-frites, the state now is facing at least two law suits alleging that it failed to take sufficient action to prevent the spread of mad cow disease in France.

Add to that a warning today by the junior health minister, Dominique Gillot, that the country should prepare itself for "several dozen" cases of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the fatal human variant of BSE, and it is no wonder that sales of beef in the home of the faux filet, the chateaubriand and the tournedos have plummeted .

José Bové's small farmers' union, the Confederation Paysanne, claims that successive governments have turned a blind eye to the fact that some 14,000 tonnes of potentially dangerous British meat and bone meal was illegally imported into France from 1993 to 1996, despite a ban imposed in 1990.

Mr Bové, whose colourful campaign against "la malbouffe" -which could be politely translated as "crap food" - has made him a popular and respected figure in France, wants every agriculture minister since 1988 put in the dock as "accessories" to allowing the imports, which are documented in customs reports, to continue.

Separately, the parents of a young victim of nvCJD have said they plan to sue the state for "poisoning" their son, who was shown in the final stages of the disease in a harrowing French TV documentary on Monday.

"Officials asked us to be quiet," said the mother of the young man, identified only as Arnaud. "But people made mistakes, and there is no reason why they should not pay for them.

"Every day, we hear farmers crying because their herds have been slaughtered. They are compensated and can buy new cows. We can't buy a new son."

Poisoning is a heavily loaded term in France: it was the charge originally brought against three government ministers accused of ignoring scientific warnings and allowing HIV-contaminated blood to be used by the national transfusion service, the country's biggest public health scandal to date that cost hundreds of lives.

Fuelled by a steadily increasing number of BSE cases uncovered in France, fears are mounting.

More than half the schools in Paris and a dozen other large cities like Toulouse and Lille have outlawed beef from their canteens, a major chain of steak restaurants refuses to serve beef on the bone , and sales of the suddenly suspect meat have fallen by 30% across the country.

Poland has now joined Hungary and Russia in banning imports of beef from France, adding to a wider collapse of public confidence in the quality of French food.

"Food: the French no longer trust it," said Le Parisien newspaper yesterday - an extraordinary admission in a country that has for so long viewed itself as the hub of world gastronomy.

But are such fears really necessary? The answer is yes - but only partly. On the one hand, the scale of the BSE epidemic in France does not even begin to compare with that seen in Britain .

So far, two people have died in France of vCJD, against more than 80 in Britain, and there have been a total of 166 cases of BSE compared with some 80 a day in Britain at the height of the scare.

What's more, the recent surge in the number of in French cases is due almost exclusively to a new and stringent testing programme unique in the EU.

On the other hand, there are several reasons to suspect French beef may not now be as safe a British beef. The agriculture minister, Jean Glavany, has said there is "no question" of France following Britain and banning beef on the bone.

Instead, officials will look into different ways of curing the meat to separate the ribs from the potentially dangerous spinal column.

Equally, France has not , so far, imposed a 30-month rule banning from human consumption all meat from cows more than two-and-a-half years old, and neither has it outlawed meat and bone meal from all animal feeds as Britain did in 1996.

At present, meat and bone meal can still be fed to pigs and chickens -despite the fact that almost all cases of BSE identified in France can be attributed to cows being fed, inadvertently or deliberately, meal meant for other animals.

The current Gallic mad cow scare is, in all probability, exaggerated. A leading independent expert believes existing safety measures are enough to ensure the disease is eradicated in 2002.

But the public fear, and the court cases that threaten to flow from it, will at least have the benefit of forcing the French out of their complacency.

In the words of Le Figaro newspaper, consumers feel betrayed. "The veil is being lifted from the fraud, the fiddling and the cynicism that have for so long reigned from one end of our food chain to the other."


07 Nov 00 - CJD - CJD nightmare causes consumer panic in France

By Patrick Bishop in Paris

Telegraph ... Tuesday 7 November 2000


Harrowing images of a young victim of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease were broadcast for the first time on French television last night as the country's mad cow crisis began to cause panic among consumers.

Complacency at the threat posed by BSE has given way to widespread fear after a succession of food safety scandals. Several more education authorities banned beef from school canteens yesterday and a steak restaurant chain announced that beef on the bone was off the menu .

Abattoirs in the Loire region, the biggest beef producer in France, reported a 50 per cent drop in activity following a massive slump in over-the-counter sales. The fall in the country's agricultural standing was underlined yesterday when Poland joined Hungary and Russia in banning French beef.

The potential consequences of the BSE crisis were illustrated in a documentary on the M6 channel showing the condition of a 19-year-old man, named as Arnaud, believed to be dying from vCJD. The company devoted the whole evening of live television to breaking what it describes as the "omerta" surrounding mad cow disease. It claims that the family of the victim were told to keep quiet about his illness and attempts were made to block the reporter's investigation .

The BSE scare is only part of a wider collapse of confidence in the quality of food in a nation that takes huge pride in its reputation for gastronomic excellence. Disclosures of listeria in pork pate , sausages and milk and dangerous corner-cutting by food producers have turned French stomachs and angered consumers.

"Food: The French no longer trust it," declared the Parisien newspaper yesterday, reflecting the bewilderment of a public that hitherto believed such problems were a cross-Channel phenomenon. Two people have died so far of vCJD according to official figures but the figure is not thought to reflect reality as four out of 10 families refuse authorisation for autopsies .

Schools across France have ordered canteens to stop serving beef , particularly hamburgers , which have been found to contain nerve tissue , saliva glands and other unsavoury parts of the carcass . In Normandy a catering company that delivers 27,000 school meals a day said it was dropping beef after an official request.

As fear gives way to anger, pressure is mounting for official heads to roll. Jose Bove, the anti-globalisation campaigner and farmers' union leader, announced yesterday that he would begin legal moves against French agriculture ministers who had served from 1988 onwards. Families of victims were also talking of bringing charges against those they considered responsible for "poisoning" loved ones.

M Bove accused ministers of being "accessories" in allowing the importation of bone meal animal feeds that were subject to an embargo. "All the sick cows were born before 1996 and were all fed on feeds containing bonemeal with the blessing of all the agriculture ministers one after the other from the Left and the Right," he said.

The current agriculture minister, Jean Glavany, tried again yesterday to win back public confidence, saying that France was moving towards the implementation of global BSE testing to check all five million cattle slaughtered annually . But he warned that things were going to get worse before they got better. He denied claims that the government had concealed the true extent of both BSE and vCJD.


07 Nov 00 - CJD - Storms are Man's fault, says Prince

By Charles Clover, Environment Editor

Telegraph ... Tuesday 7 November 2000


The storms lashing Britain are, like the BSE disaster, the result of mankind's "arrogant disregard" for the delicate balance of nature, the Prince of Wales said yesterday.

He told a conference on medicine: "We have to find a way of ensuring that our remarkable and seemingly beneficial advances in technology do not just become the agents of our own destruction."

The Prince's remarks came a week before 160 nations begin talks in the Hague on strengthening the Kyoto climate change treaty, and as torrential rain brought renewed misery to thousands of homeowners and commuters. Barely a region was spared as the Environment Agency issued 41 severe flood warnings on 27 rivers. Many rivers are not expected to peak until late tonight or tomorrow. The Met Office forecast that up to 1.5 inches of rain will fall in some parts today.

The Prince's comments show him firmly on the side of scientists who point to the worsening intensity of winter downpours as evidence that man-made global warming has already begun, and tacitly out of sympathy with the fuel tax protesters. Scientists who point to measurable changes in the climate over the last century as visible signs of global warming avoid attributing any particular storm or weather event to global warming because the climate will always be variable.

But the Prince chose to make no such qualification. He told the Millennium Festival of Medicine in London, which was organised by the British Medical Association: "As it did in the 19th century, medicine will once again have to consider the impact of pestilence and famine on human health. A new danger is the transfer of infective organisms between the animal kingdom and man, and the terrifying potential of environmental changes with their serious effects on health.

"Some recent occurrences such as the BSE disaster and even perhaps - dare I mention it - the present severe weather conditions in our country are, I have no doubt, the consequences of mankind's arrogant disregard of the delicate balance of nature. There is no doubt that we live in an age of unprecedented, and sometimes terrifying, technological advance where the speed of advance so often outstrips the necessary ethical considerations."

The Prince said that the human genome project "fascinates and alarms in equal combinations". The development of a genetic map of the human body promised new techniques in identifying and treating diseases with a genetic component and potentially tailoring drugs to the individual, but the project also raised "important issues of bioethics".

Just as important as scientific and technical advances was the healing relationship between doctors and other health professionals and their patients, he told the meeting. Prince Charles also called for a growing recognition of the "potentially powerful" role of complementary therapies.

A spokesman for the Met Office said last night: "We agree with the Prince's sentiments. While there is dispute as to the proportion of global warming brought about by human influence and natural variability we, among many other scientists, agree that a significant part is down to human influence."


06 Nov 00 - CJD - French fear home-grown beef

Paul Webster in Paris

Guardian ... Monday 6 November 2000


Officials call in vain for calm: people suspect a cover-up

Schools all over France are expected to stop serving beef to children in their canteens, following the lead of many districts in Paris in responding to rising panic about the safety of French beef .

Europe's biggest beef exporter now finds itself the object of international distrust in its billion-pound meat industry after leading the campaign to bar British beef from Europe because of the risk from animals with BSE, mad cow disease.

A total ban on French beef has been imposed by Hungary . Other countries, including Russia , are preparing to follow suit. Some French restaurants and butchers are refusing to sell beef on the bone.

Many people now fear that eating beef could put them at risk of variant Creutzfeld Jakob Disease (vCJD), which is thought to come from the meat of cows that had BSE.

So far this year no more than 80 cases of BSE have been diagnosed in France, including two new cases reported on Friday. Last year 31 cases were reported.

Instead of reassuring consumers, the tightening of safety checks in June seems only to have increased public wariness after a series of recent food scandals ranging from infected duck liver paté to contaminated beef and lamb sausages.

The reinforced monitoring is concentrated in Normandy. Whole herds are destroyed if one case of BSE is found.

Public suspicion that the authorities might be concealing a wider outbreak was heightened last week when the Green movement, backed by President Jacques Chirac, demanded an immediate halt to sales of meat and bone meal from carcasses of cows for use as feed for poultry and pigs .

It is still legal in France for these products to be used this way.

Neither the publicly declared figures for BSE (expected to be no more than 100 animals this year), nor the two confirmed cases of vCJD are on the scale of the outbreak in Britain, where vCJD has killed 81 people since being identified by government scientists in late 1995.

But there are fears that the numbers could rise sharply, in part because of better detection but also, because of reports of cheating by some cattle dealers and breeders trying to cover up the disease.

The biggest shock was revealed a fortnight ago when some of France's most popular supermarket chains, led by Carrefour, admitted that a tonne of BSE-infected meat had been sold to customers after it got through the safety checks at an abattoir.

This coincided with a government request to Afsa, the independent food safety agency, to study the possible dangers of beef on the bone, including T-bone steaks and a French favourite, cte de boeuf.

Although under no obligation to react, the national steak restaurant chain Buffalo Grill withdrew the cuts from its menus this weekend and most butchers voluntarily followed suit.

The mayors of 11 of Paris's 20 districts have banned beef entirely from school menus , a measure likely to be widely followed in the provinces.

These actions prompted an urgent ministerial meeting as the weekend began, to try to calm public fears .

The consumers' minister, François Patriat, said there was no justification for an immediate withdrawal of bone meal while Afsa, which defied a EU ruling this year and outlawed the resumed import of British beef to France, said that a decision on bone meal would need at least four months' scientific study.

Mr Chirac's spokesman said that even tighter monitoring was needed to stop BSE-infected cattle reaching abattoirs, but the prime minister, Lionel Jospin, said France has already taken the most stringent precautions of any country to control BSE. And a BSE specialist, Jeanne Brugère-Picoux, said she was astonished at the latest panic, "at a time when it is obvious that the maximum exposure to risk is well behind us because of increased inspection".

Estimates of losses to farmers vary widely, but supermarkets say that beef sales are down 25-40% .

The farmers' union FNSEA is about to launch a publicity counter-offensive. Its slogan will be a traditional expression of self-satisfaction: "Je suis bien dans mon assiette," literally, I'm OK in my plate.


06 Nov 00 - CJD - French in panic over 'smuggled' British cattle feed

From Adam Sage in Paris

Times ... Monday 6 November 2000


French fears over the spread of "mad cow" disease grew amid weekend reports that more than 1,000 tonnes of British meat and bonemeal had been imported illegally in the 1990s. The claim fuelled concern that is gripping the country after a sharp rise in reported cases of BSE in cattle.

As a new system of detection helps to shed light on the true extent of the disease in France - correcting what now appears to be an underestimation - the national mood is black . Day after day, the issue makes headline news. Schools throughout the Paris region are removing beef from their menus and caterers are to hold an emergency meeting today.

The newspaper France Soir claimed at the weekend that some of France's biggest animal feed suppliers had flouted a ban designed to prevent imports of British meat and bonemeal for cattle. The daily quoted a customs document obtained by the peasant famers' union, La Conféderátion Paysanne, saying that 1,261 tonnes of animal feed had entered France from Britain between 1993 and 1996.

"We now know that most of the big feed merchants imported banned meat and bonemeal until the autumn of 1996," José Bové, the union's leader, said.

Guyomarc'h, one of the companies cited by France Soir, told the newspaper: "We totally deny these allegations. Importations of animal feed existed, but only for poultry."

Whatever the truth, the article is certain to reinforce scepticism amongst French consumers over official reassurances that French beef is safe. These doubts owe much to the introduction in June of a Swiss test said to be capable of detecting prions - thought to be the causative agent in BSE - in dead cattle that have displayed no sympoms of the disease .

Since then, the prions test has uncovered about 30 cases that would have otherwise have gone unnoticed , helping to swell the overall figure to 86 so far this year.

Under the previous system, farmers' vets alone were responsible for alerting the authorities to cows that they suspected of having contracted BSE. There has always been an incentive for farmers to hide such cases, since their entire herd is slaughtered if one of its number goes down with "mad cow" disease.

Yesterday, panic was tangible in France. Nine of the 20 administrative districts in Paris have told school canteens to ban beef of any sort or nationality . So, too, has Boulogne.

The National Union of Collective Caterers will today hold a meeting in Paris to decide which beef, if any, to serve in school and works' canteens across the country. The underlying fear in France is that the country may be on the verge of a trauma similar to the one that hit Britain in the mid-1990s.


06 Nov 00 - CJD - Prince Charles blames mankind for rain and BSE

Staff Reporter

Times ... Monday 6 November 2000


mad cow disease and the storms lashing Britain can both be blamed on man's "arrogant disregard" for the balance of nature , the Prince of Wales said today.

A way has to be found to ensure that advances in technology do not "just become the agents of our own destruction", the Prince added.

"Some recent occurrences, such as the BSE disaster and even perhaps, dare I mention it, the present severe weather conditions in our country, are, I have no doubt, the consequences of mankind's arrogant disregard of the delicate balance of nature."

Addressing a conference on medical advances, he spoke of new threats to health in the 21st century such as antibiotic resistant bacteria , diseases spread from animals, and environmental impacts.

Prince Charles was speaking at the Millennium Festival of Medicine, organised by the British Medical Association, which opened in London today.

The Prince said: "There is no doubt that we live in an age of unprecedented, and sometimes terrifying, technological advance where the speed of advance so often outstrips the necessary ethical considerations ."

Just as important as new technology and scientific progress was the relationship between health professionals and their patients, he told the meeting.


05 Nov 00 - CJD - BSE panic reaches France

By Hugh Scholfield in Paris

Independent ... Sunday 5 November 2000


T-bone steaks are off the menu in the country's largest chain of grillhouses; nearly half of Paris schools have stopped serving beef to children; new cases of BSE-infected cattle are running at approximately one a day . France, a nation which believed itself largely free of the disease, is suddenly getting the same kind of jitters that swept through Britain five years ago.

If BSE anxiety is on the rise, it is largely as a result of the disturbing incident last month in which an unscrupulous cattle-dealer in Normandy tried to hide an infected cow within a healthy herd. Veterinary controls at the abattoir worked effectively and the sick cow was spotted, but by then it was too late. The dealer had already sold on 13 cattle from the original infected herd, and eight tonnes of their meat ended up on supermarket shelves .

The news confirmed what many had long feared: that the true extent of BSE in France has been masked by a combination of fraud and complacency . If a dealer was prepared to smuggle a sick cow into the food-chain, how many other farmers have been tempted to conceal the presence of infection?

At the same time, the tally of stricken animals has continued to rise almost daily. The figure stands at 166 , of which 86 have been detected this year. Hence the worried calls in Paris this week from parents to the school authorities, demanding that beef be removed from canteens .

By the weekend, nine out of the capital's 20 arrondissements had taken the step. "I know the meat is probably safe, but with children's health there is an instinct not to take even the slightest risk ," said Annette Hevelot, a mother in the residential 14th arrondissement.

And then on Friday Buffalo Grill , the country's biggest chain of steakhouses, announced that it is withdrawing T-bone and rib steaks from all 220 of its outlets because it expects a government ban on beef served on the bone. Another chain, Hippo-potamus, followed suit. The French government has as yet made no such announcement, but its food safety agency AFSSA is known to be concerned that infected matter from the spinal cord could be passed into meat that is attached to it.

In Britain, the Tories have called for a ban on French beef and urged the European Commission to stop all exports until the scare is over. James Paice, the Conservative agriculture spokesman, said: "When it was first realised that BSE could lead to variant CJD, the European Commission banned the sale of British beef. I would look to the Government to do the same for French beef."


05 Nov 00 - CJD - British organ donors face ban

Jonathan Leake, Science Editor

Sunday Times ... Sunday 5 November 2000


Britons and Americans who have lived in the UK are to be banned from becoming organ donors in the United States because of fears they could be carrying the human form of mad cow disease.

The American medical authorities have already banned anyone who has lived in Britain for more than six months since 1980 from becoming a blood donor . American blood agencies are also banned from buying blood sourced from the UK .

This weekend scientists who advise Bill Clinton on the dangers from variant CJD (vCJD) said they were asking him to impose a similar ban on organ donors. They will warn him that everyone who lived in Britain through the mad cow epidemic, when 1m BSE-infected cows entered the human food chain, has probably been exposed.

This weekend the clampdown was confirmed by Dr Paul Brown, a specialist who also chairs the American Food and Drug Administration's advisory committee on diseases of this kind. He said: "The issue of donor blood has already been addressed but the issue of donor organs hasn't and that is a concern. I have had talks with the tissue banks suggesting that the same considerations applied to blood donations should attach to organ donations ."

The Conservatives called yesterday for a ban on imports of French beef as it emerged that the French government is likely to announce a ban on sales of beef on the bone after a threefold rise in positive tests for BSE since last year.


05 Nov 00 - CJD - Britain resists demands for ban on French beef

Antony Barnett and Stuart Jeffries in Paris

Guardian ... Sunday 5 November 2000


Agriculture Minister Nick Brown yesterday ruled out a British ban on French beef imports despite mounting fears that BSE is widespread among France's cattle .

A Ministry official said: 'As law-abiding Europeans, we would not break the law by unilaterally imposing a ban. That is something for the European Commission and its scientific advisers to decide.'

From tomorrow the majority of schools in Paris will have taken beef off the menu , and the French government is shortly expected to announce a halt to sales of beef-on-the bone following a threefold rise in the number of BSE cases in the past year.

On Friday, France's biggest steak-house chain became the latest to withdraw T-bone steaks from the menu in its 220 restaurants.

The row over safety standards in the French meat industry deepened last month when it was revealed that eight tonnes of meat from herds infected with BSE had ended up on supermarket shelves . The country's beef sales have gone into freefall, and farmers learnt yesterday that Russia and Hungary , which account for 14 per cent of their exports, had embargoed imports of French beef .

This weekend the Tories called on Brussels to ban exports of French beef . Shadow agriculture spokesman James Paice said: 'If the the European Commission won't ban it, I think our Government should. That's exactly what the French have done to us in refusing to accept our beef. Europe lifted the ban and the French unilaterally decided not to.'

Britain imports around 5,000 tonnes of French beef each year, although few firms in the supermarket or catering businesses would own up this weekend to using it , as they moved to reassure the public that most beef sold by them was British.

A spokeswoman for Marks & Spencer said: 'None of our products sold in Britain are made from French beef, and although we do sell French beef in our Paris store we have imposed strict controls on the meat we use and are sure that it is safe.'

However, neither she nor anybody from Tesco , Sainsbury or Whitbread - which owns hundreds of restaurants, including the Pizza Hut, Café Rouge and Bella Pasta chains - could say categorically that French beef was not used in its products.

A spokesman from Tesco said that most of the French beef was used in processed food such as burgers and pies. He also suggested that French beef could end up in British school meals.

The Tories pointed out that the French still allow farmers to feed their cattle on meat and bone meal which has been banned in the UK for 10 years. There is also a concern that the French still let beef from cows more than 30 months old - the animals most at risk of contracting BSE - enter the human food chain.

However, the UK Food Standards Agency defended the French beef industry. A spokesman said: 'Controls throughout Europe should, if correctly implemented and enforced, be removing all the high-risk material from beef before it enters the human food chain.

'The reported incidence of BSE in cattle in the UK is still more than 150 times greater than in France, and there have been no substantiated cases of imported beef over 30 months old reaching consumers in the UK.'

In 1999, the number of cases of BSE in British cattle was 472 per million compared with only 2.8 cases per million in France.

However, while the number of diseased cattle in Britain continues to decline , the rate of infection in France is increasing .

Recently two more cows infected with mad cow disease have been discovered in western France, bringing the number found in France to 86 . There were fewer than 30 cases reported throughout the whole of last year. In Britain this year, there have so far been more than 1,000 cows infected with BSE .

There has also been anecdotal evidence of French farmers concealing the extent of the disease in their herds by killing and burying sick cows rather than reporting them to the authorities.

France's deepening BSE crisis has dealt a blow to a country that prides himself on taking more precautions than any other nation to make the meat safe to eat.

Last month a French meat trader and his son spent a week in jail after being accused of knowingly selling a BSE-infected cow to an abattoir. They had tried to hide the sick animal in a batch of healthy ones.


05 Nov 00 - CJD - BSE warning that fell on deaf ears

Letters

Sunday Times ... Sunday 5 November 2000


The elderly man's death from vCJD should not surprise us (A culture of secrecy that risked our lives, Focus and News, last week). The reason that the other cases of vCJD are hitherto much younger is that during the time - 1981-89 - when maximum doses of the infective agent were going via cattle brains into our meat products, these victims were children shedding teeth. The "scrapie agent" or prion was therefore able to get direct access to the bloodstream through the raw areas in their gums and this shortened their incubation periods.

The gloomy fact is that the 74-year-old is the first of an unknown number of future victims of various ages , the outward manifestations of their inward disease depending on the length of their incubation periods and on the dose swallowed . You refer in your article to the transferring of BSE to mice and cats as early proof of the threat to human life. But as early as 1980, the Nobel prize-winning scrapie experts in America transferred the disease (using infected brain tissue) by mouth to a long list of mammals including primates. It was this work that caused me to warn the public on television news in February 1989 that we primates were at risk as long as cattle brains continued to be added to our foods.

"They" did not listen until November 1989.

Helen Grant (neuropathologist), London NW3

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BUCK PASSING:

Doctors are frequently held to be unaccountable by ministers and civil servants, and new means of monitoring and disciplining us appear regularly on documents from the NHS executive. If I kill or injure a patient through negligence I may be prosecuted in the criminal courts, have civil action taken against me, be struck off for a minimum of five years by the GMC (equivalent to a Ï180,000 fine, with no judge or jury to ensure justice is done) with little chance of working again, face an NHS tribunal, face a local health authority tribunal and be held accountable through the new mechanisms of re-validation/re-accreditation. The new chief medical officer has built his reputation on such processes but it seems unlikely that they will extend to the top of the ladder. As your report on BSE shows, the same sorts of procedure do not come in to play when senior ministers, civil servants, medical experts and others at the top of government foul up .

We urgently need ways of making the most senior levels of government accountable to the people through means other than the gentlest of criticisms from one of their own in the highest echelons of the establishment.

Dr Mark Oliver Little Haywood, Staffordshire

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POLIO:

Your excellent coverage of the polio jabs scanda l (News, October 22) proved how important this matter is. Your leader article expressed admirably our feelings. We do not know which polio vaccine our child was given or whether it was contaminated with variant CJD, nor what kind of risk our children are now running. The health department should publish a list of company names, brand names, batch numbers and dates of distribution of these "suspected" polio vaccines . Parents will then be able to judge the risk to their children.

Dr Claudia and Arthur Hayward-Costa Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

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CLEVER:

I cannot find fault with Sir Peter Kemp's sentiments (Letters, last week), but his choice of one word is unfortunate - he speaks of "a lot of people who could have been cleverer". Heaven forbid. Most of the principals in this tragedy were too clever by half.

Embedded in my memory is a television programme hosted by Rabbi Blue. He related how as a young man at Cambridge, he expected wisdom, but found only cleverness. We have had a surfeit of clever politicians: what we need for the 21st century is a little wisdom.

Geoff Taylor Ascot, Berkshire

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OPPRESSIVE:

Having worked for the Meat and Livestock Commission in the mid-1980s, I can only commend the view of the BSE report.

The atmosphere within the organisation at that time was designed to intimidate anybody who wished to speak out whether it be regarding animal welfare , slaughterhouse practices , vegetarianism or the obligations to the consumer . The seeds of the eventual disaster lay in the oppressive, secretive and patronising civil servant-type culture . I left in 1987, after two years in the economics division.

Colin McElwee Barcelona, Spain

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MEDIA:

Some of us stopped eating beef at the first reports of Canadian mink dying of British feed in the late 1980s. Others when it jumped the species barrier to cats, and still others upon reading interviews with dissenting scientists. Without a free press we would have had nothing but the assurances of Messrs Gummer, Hogg, et al to go on.

Nancy Davis Cambridge

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CHEMISTRY:

Scientific advice on a complex issue such as BSE cannot give clear-cut recommendations and will inevitably need informed interpretation. It would be interesting to know how qualified our government and civil servants are to do this. I am reminded of Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister who, when asked whether he knew any chemistry, replied indignantly: "Of course not, minister. I was in the scholarship form".


04 Nov 00 - CJD - CJD: no link to eating beef is found

By David Brown, Agriculture Editor, and David Derbyshire, Science Correspondent

Telegraph ... Saturday 4 November 2000


Government scientists in the front line of the battle to protect the public from the human form of BSE have found no positive link with eating beef.

They also found nothing to indicate that medical treatments or the occupations of the victims were to blame for them developing variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The study of 51 victims by the National CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh does not necessarily undermine the consensus view of scientists, reiterated in last week's Phillips Report, that the most likely means of transmission of vCJD is through infected beef.

However, in studying sufferers against a small control sample , it failed to find a clear-cut statistical link between victims of vCJD and whether they ate beef, or how often.

The surveillance unit, headed by Prof Robert Will, who was a key witness at the BSE inquiry, is manned by some of the world's leading experts in spongiform encephalopathies - a family of diseases including BSE, CJD and scrapie in sheep. Its report for 1999, just published, said: "We have found no evidence of any dietary, iatrogenic or occupational risk for vCJD."

It described how experts studied the dietary and medical histories of 51 known victims of vCJD and their occupations. These results were compared with 27 patients used as controls who did not suffer from the disease. Patients and controls included people employed in livestock farming or the veterinary profession.

All but one of the 51 victims in the study ate beef, which is statistically similar to the rest of the population. Around 88 per cent of the victims ate burgers, the same proportion as in the population as a whole. They were slightly less likely to have eaten sausages.

One of the controls ate animal brains - which none of the vCJD victims were reported to have done. Consumption of cattle brains is banned in the UK because they are deemed to pose one of the highest risks of harbouring BSE. Fifty-four per cent of the vCJD cases ate beef more than once a week, compared to 37 per cent of the non-sufferers. However, the figures were said not to be "statistically significant".

On the association between the amount of beef eaten and the incidence of vCJD, the report said: "While these later findings are consistent with there being no association, we cannot exclude the possibility that such association exists ." The Department of Health admitted last night that the evidence that eating beef was to blame for vCJD was "circumstantial ".

Two days ago the Food Standards Agency, in its draft review of BSE controls in Britain, said: "Whilst the likely link between exposure to BSE and the occurrence of vCJD was considered by the Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee and ministers as sufficient to justify action, nevertheless the evidence was and remains circumstantial, albeit strong."

Scientists are divided on the real cause of BSE in cattle and its believed route to humans, but most favour the theory that it was caused by rogue prion proteins which set up a deadly chain reaction in cattle. The link between BSE and vCJD is thought likely because their progression and mechanism are so similar. Scientists have also been able to create diseases similar to vCJD in mice by injecting them with brain matter from diseased cattle.

The Meat and Livestock Commission, which was attacked in the BSE inquiry report for overstating the safety of beef, said: "This makes interesting reading. We will be watching the results of the unit's future research with great interest."

David Body, the lawyer representing most of the families of the victims of vCJD, said last night: "The CJD unit people are absolutely correct and proper to say that there is no clear association that they can determine. But at inquests on the victims they say that the disease is linked to beef or beef products. As the infectivity mechanism is insufficiently understood, we have to ask where the balance of likelihood lies. The fact is that the place where the infection was most evident was in cattle and these cattle went into the food chain."

Dr Stephen Dealler, a medical microbiologist, said he was not surprised by the findings. He suspected that the sample was too small to draw any meaningful conclusions about the transmission of the disease. So many people were eating beef regularly in the Eighties and Nineties that teasing out subtle differences in consumption levels was almost impossible , he said.

Prof Alan Ebringer, professor of immunology at King's College, London, said yesterday: "This evidence from the surveillance unit goes against the theory that eating beef causes vCJD."

Prof Ebringer, the leader of a team that has developed a test for BSE in live cattle, believes the common source of BSE and vCJD is a form of deadly bacteria widespread in the environment rather than rogue prion proteins. He attacked the BSE inquiry for dismissing his concept that the disease in cattle and people are auto-immune conditions brought about by acinetobacter calcoaceticus, a bacterium implicated in other diseases including multiple sclerosis.


04 Nov 00 - CJD - CJD 'cluster' villagers still buy beef

Emma Brockes

Guardian ... Saturday 4 November 2000


Uncertainty beneath bravado in butcher's shop as former pit community reacts to three young deaths

The first thing Sarah Roberts felt was a pain in her legs. It was February and the doctor in the village of Armthorpe, South Yorkshire, diagnosed stress brought on by her impending accountancy exams. This was a different doctor to the one who had treated her neighbour, Matthew Parker , a 19-year-old whose death from vCJD three years ago first announced the BSE crisis in the heart of an astonished, small community.

In March, when the pain got worse, Sarah Roberts took herself to casualty, where doctors gave her an x-ray and told her that if she did not "buck her ideas up" she would be referred for psychiatric treatment. By June, she could not walk. Her parents, Frank and Sheila, brought her bed downstairs and left their jobs. In July a neurologist diagnosed her with vCJD. By September, the 28-year-old was dead.

This week a third vCJD victim was linked to Armthorpe and the word "cluster" on the front page of the Doncaster Star set residents debating whether three cases in three years signalled a cause for panic. The third victim, Adrian Hodgkinson , 24, lived in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and died in 1997, but spent every weekend between 1972 and 1986 at his grandmother's house in Armthorpe.

John Radford, director of public health in Doncaster, said: "It may be down to coincidence, but if we have 80-odd cases nationally, the chances of several occurring [in one place] by chance are small ."

"Are they saying you've poisoned us?" inquired a customer in Hopson's butchers. Under his hairnet, Ray Hopson remained sanguine.

Three and a half miles east of Doncaster, the village of Armthorpe used to be a mining community for Markham Main colliery. It is accustomed to hardship: during the miners' strike, only 34 of Armthorpe's 1,300 miners went back to work. It is a commuter town now, arranged around a petrol station and two shopping arcades which, despite their in different architecture, try to project charm through stores such as the Quality Fruiterer, the Olde Village Bakery and Nora's Wool shop.

When news of the third vCJD link to Armthorpe broke last Thursday, villagers wavered between bravado and alarm, not quite free of the suspicion that the cluster theory was a commentary on the cleanliness of their homes.

In the Wheatsheaf pub, the landlady, Jane Jones, was sceptical. "We don't know they got it in Armthorpe," she says. Her daughter was in the same class as Sarah at Armthorpe comprehensive. "All these were young people. They could have gone to London and got it."

The focus of debate is on the two main beef outlets : Hopson's butchers and Luciano's pizza, pasta and burger joint. Matthew Parker worked at Luciano's, and after he died, the restaurant's manager, Faz Mir, was given assurances from his meat supplier that the beef that went into Luciano burgers was not British. "My wholesaler is Indian," said Mr Mir. "He imports the beef cheaply from abroad." He softened at the mention of his former employee. "He was a very jolly lad," he said sadly, "16 years old and size 14 shoes!"

The impact of the deaths on beef sales in Armthorpe has been variable. At the pub, Jane Jones has seen a drop in demand for roast beef, but not for steak pie. In the bakery, mince and onion pasties are still selling well. At Hopson's butchers, the queue consisted almost entirely of people buying beef, although not all were convinced they will eat it.

"It frightens me to death," said Pam Cartlidge, who has lived in the village all her life. "I've got packs of stewing beef in the freezer and I keep looking at them, then taking the lamb out." So why was she buying more beef? "Because if we've got the disease, we got it years ago and there's nothing to be done."

"I'm the wrong side of 40 to worry," says David Faulkner, owner of a nursing home and in pursuit of two T-bone steaks. Mr Faulkner's son was a friend of Matthew Parker and became a vegetarian after his death. But, said his father, "if it happens, it happens and you have to accept it". Mr Hopson said: "240 people a day die of smoking. With the food agency setting up all these checks, eating beef is safer now than it's ever been."

The attitude of villagers should not be mistaken for complacency. While they continue to buy beef, they regard the government as having acted at best negligently, at worst along more sinister lines. "If they don't get us one way, they'll get us another," said Stephen Miller, a former miner and now electronics engineer, buying braising steak in Hopson's. "We're never going to be told the truth by the government," said David Faulkner. At the Olde Village Bakery, one woman wonders: "How do we know it's not in the water supply?"

Frank Roberts said that towards the end his only daughter's memory was reduced to a span of two seconds . She lost the ability to speak. He and his wife pushed her in a wheelchair for a final day out around Cleethorpes. "Sarah never knew what she had," he said. "We made that decision. 'Am I going to get better?' she would ask. And Sheila would say, 'Yeah. You're going to get better'." He blames the Tory government for its secrecy, prevarication and failure to direct funds towards BSE research. He blames the Labour government for failing to punish it. "We thought the BSE report would actually name names. But there were no names."

In Armthorpe, the adults might affect nonchalance, but the real impact of vCJD can be monitored in their attitude towards their children. "It's too late for me," said Jane Jones grimly, "but if it was my choice, my four-year-old granddaughter would be brought up vegetarian."

Frank Roberts and his wife, meanwhile, are left feeling helpless . "If she'd died of a car crash, we could've turned to one person and said 'it's your fault.' But with this, we can't. There is no one person to point at. The system was at fault, and we are left pointing at the system, hoping it will change."


04 Nov 00 - CJD - Paris to ban beef on the bone as BSE fears grow

From Adam Sage In Paris

Independent ... Saturday 4 November 2000


Beef on the bone is likely to be banned in France as the French Government strives to contain increasing consumer panic over "mad cow" disease.

The move comes with a warning from one of France's leading BSE experts, Gérard Pascal, that French beef is more dangerous than its British counterpart .

According to the newspaper Libération yesterday, one of France's favourite dishes, la côte de boeuf (T-bone steak), is facing the chop . The news will come as a blow to gastronomes across France, for whom côte de boeuf and frites (chips) are as much a part of the national heritage as snails and frogs legs.

One leading restaurant chain, Buffalo Grill, announced yesterday that it was taking T-bone steak and rib beef off the menu immediately without waiting for a government ruling.

"This really is the end of the barbecue ," said Libération. Beef on the bone was banned in Britain in 1998 but allowed back on to British dinner tables last winter. In France, with beef consumption falling sharply and mad cow cases rising , the issue is highly sensitive , giving rise to a barely comprehensible official cacophony yesterday.

The French Food Safety Agency said it was studying the "conditions of the implementation of the withdrawal of bovine backbones" - thus confirming, in a roundabout way, the imminence of a ban. But the Ministry of Agriculture denied any knowledge of this move, preferring to leave the agency in the front line.

According to Libération, French scientists have concluded that beef on the bone represents a health risk since bone marrow appears to be a vector of mad cow disease. "The committee believes that it is necessary to avoid cutting the backbone and to exclude its use in the food chain," the agency ruled.

Another French agency, the Meat Information Centre, has come to the same conclusion. "It seems difficult to retain la côte de boeuf in its present form," Louis Orenga, general director of the centre, said.

"But butchers might not have to take all the bones out completely," he added. The controversy is likely to fuel widespread French anxiety .

Beef consumption has already dropped by 11 per cent since 1990 and the decline is gathering pace , according to supermarkets and butchers. Yesterday the mayors of six of Paris's 20 administrative districts said they were taking beef of any sort or nationality off school menus . "If there was an accident one day, we would be considered responsible," Eric Ferand, Deputy Mayor of the 11th arrondissement, said.

Concern has been heightened by figures showing an increase in BSE among French cattle. Although the disease is far less widespread than in Britain, 84 cases have been reported this year, compared with 80 for the whole period from 1991 up to last year.

M Pascal, the scientific director of the food safety agency and president of the European Union's scientific committee, was quoted by the magazine Marianne this week as saying: "At the moment English consumers are running fewer risks of being contaminated by mad cow disease than French consumers . And that raises a question over the (French embargo on English beef."

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Budapest: Hungary banned beef and related products from France and Ireland yesterday because of growing concerns in those countries about mad cow disease. (AFP)


03 Nov 00 - CJD - Paris schools ban beef

Staff Reporter

Evening Standard ... Friday 3 November 2000


In a growing sign of panic in France about the dangers of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), beef has been removed from the menu in canteens in more than a third of Paris schools .

The decision, which now covers seven out of 20 districts or arrondissements, was taken in response to growing demands from parents , who are anxious after the news that meat from a herd contaminated with BSE was put on sale in supermarkets.

Meanwhile, the country's biggest chain of steakhouses, Buffalo Grill, announced that it was removing beef served on the bone from its menus because of fears of contamination from the prion that causes BSE.

Liberation reported today that the French government was to issue a decree next week that would prohibit any part of the spinal column reaching the market, following the advice of the food safety agency AFSSA. While bone marrow is already banned from human consumption, AFSSA has decided that steaks attached to the back-bone risk infection when the carcass is being dismembered, the paper said.

French fears of BSE, and its human equivalent variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, were heightened after the doubling of cases of infected cattle in the first 10 months of the year . The figure now stands at 164 , of which 84 have been detected since January.


03 Nov 00 - CJD - The Victims

By Danny Kemp

PA News ... Friday 3 November 2000


David Antonio , 28, died in Sep 00 after a nine-month illness, confirmed mid-Oct 00, Orkney-born labourer

Zoe Jeffries , onset June 98, at age 12, died 28 Oct 00 age 14, born November 85.

unnamed man , 74, onset in 99, oldest known case , North Yorkshire, confirmed 27 Oct 00

Margaret Tibbert , Scotland.

Kevin Morrison , Scotland.

Clare Tomkins , 24, from East Peckham, Kent, became a vegetarian aged 11 in 1985, died in 1998.

Stephen Churchill , 19, died in May 1995, first person to die from nvCJD.

Andrew Carter , 27, died in February 2000, of Keighley in northern England.

Tibbet, Margaret , 29, died in 1996, husband Malcolm.

Pamela Beyless , 24, died in Glenfield in September 1998.

Glen Day , 35, from Queniborough, died in October 1998.

Stacey Robinson , 19, mother from nearby Thurmaston, died in August 1998

Christopher Reeve , farmhand, worked in Queniborough lived Rearsby, then died early 00.

Michelle Bowen , 29, butcher's assistant, died November 1995, just days after birth of third child .

Jean Wake , 38, died in November 1995, worked as a meat-chopper in a pie factory.

Maurice Callaghan , 30, an engineer/manager at Queen's University of Belfast, died in November 1995.

Ann Richardson , 41, a health care assistant and mother of one, from Liverpool, died in January 1996.

Leonard Franklin , 52, an abattoir worker, died in February 1996.

Alison Williams , 30, a clerical assistant, from Caernarfon, North Wales, died in February 1996.

Peter Hall , 20, a vegetarian student, of Chester-le-Street, Co Durham, who died in February 1996 after two years.

Anna Pearson , 29, an assistant solicitor, from Canterbury, Kent, died in February 1996.

Ken Sharpe , 42, a businessman from Liverpool, died in March 1996.

Andrew Haig , 31, an electronics engineer from Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland, died in May 1996.

Barry Baker , 29, a woodcutter from High Halden, near Ashford, Kent, died in June 1996.

Michael Clifford , 50, from Redditch, Worcestershire, a manager with a telecommunications company, died in June 1996.

Janice Stuart , 35, a mother of two young children from Glasgow, died in September 1996.

Victoria Lowther , 19, from Carlisle, Cumbria, died in November 1996.

Neil Fayers , London vegetarian in 1991, died in a Spanish hospital in February 1997.

Adrian Hodgkinson , 25, former RAF policeman, Harrogate, Yorkshire, died February 1997 visited Armthorpe weekends 1972-1986.

Susan Carey , 36, a mother of four from Mersham, Kent, died on her eldest daughter's birthday in March 1997.

Matthew Parker , 19, 6'8" trainee chef from Armthorpe, died in March 1997, lived at 21 Wickett Hern, ate four burgers at a session .

Sarah Roberts , 28, died 14 Sep 00 nine weeks after diagnosis, Doncaster, lived at 43 Wickett Hern Road, Armthorpe, March 00 onset.

Louise Adams , 23, an IBM worker from Basingstoke, Hampshire, died in May 1997, within six months of onset.

Nina Cadwallader , 23, geography graduate from Harpenden, Hertfordshire, died in May 1997.

Gulcan Hassan , 19, a computer studies student from south London, died in May 1997, onset 16.

Keith Humphrey , 42, an engineer from Northfield, Birmingham, died in July 1997.

Mandy Minto , 27, died in July 1997, mother-of-two from Sunderland wasted away within eight months.

Christopher Warne , 36, a computer systems analyst, from Ripley, Derbyshire, died in October 1997.

Victoria Rimmer , 20, Connah's Quay, Clwyd, first teenage victim , diagnosed in 1993 at the age of 15 , died in 1997. Doctor from the National CJD surveillance unit told family not to go to the Press, saying: "Think of the economy, think of the EEC."

Donna Lee Mellowship , 34, a mother of two from Tottenham, north London, died on New Year's Eve 1997.

Jayne Bishop , 54, a medical care centre manageress and mother-of-two from Oxford, died in January 1998.

Caroline Jones , 33, a mother of four and part-time cleaner, died in March 1998.

Tony Barrett , 45, a coastguard officer from Brixham, Devon, with two grown-up children, died in May 1998.

Alison Thorpe , 25, a store manager from Macclesfield, died in August 1998.

Alex Paton , 36, a father of two from Scotland, died in October 1998.

Kelly Stableford , 21, a kennel maid from Alconbury Hills, Tilbrook, died in November 1998.

Lisa Crowe , 29, a mother of one from North Wales, died in December 1998.

"G" , aged 20, a second-year university student, died in December 1998, six months after symptoms of nvCJD.

Nicola Harrison , 24, a jewellery saleswoman, from Grimsby, died on New Year's Eve, 1998.

Marianne Harvey , 25, a potter from Pembrokeshire, died in August 1999 two and a half years after onset

Sylvia Bibby , 51, a sales assistant, from Warrington, Cheshire, died in January 1999.

Jason Keat , 25, a father of one, worked as a butcher in an abattoir prior to his death in February 1999.

Mark Keleghar , 23, a supermarket deputy manager, died in May 1999.

Donnamarie McGivern , 17, from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, died in her parents' arms in September 1999.

Ian Thompson , 25, postman from Gosforth, Newcastle, died in October 1999.

"S" , 33, father of one, died in November 1999, wrote harrowing diary about early stages of his disease.

Claire McVey , 15, died on January 11, 2000, after months of illness, Kentisbury Ford, Devon.

An unnamed mother died in an unnamed Midlands hospital after giving birth to a baby girl. The baby was subsequently diagnosed with nvCJD and is seriously ill.

Karen Beavon , 37, a computer manager Cardiff, died 15 July 00, 8 months after onset anxiety, diagnosed May 00.