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BSE Inquiry out in the open

The results of the UK government's BSE Inquiry were published on Thursday 26 October, implicating civil servants and scientists in the health scandal.

David Nicholson(dn@davidnicholson.com)

LONDON. After a six month delay, the Findings and Conclusions of the UK government's Inquiry into BSE and variant CJD in the United Kingdom were made public at noon today. The inquiry process, which took almost three years to complete, has highlighted flawed science and inadequate communication as major factors contributing to one of the UK's biggest public health scandals for decades.

One of the fault lines in the government's treatment of the BSE scare lies between MAFF (the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) and the scientists involved in the research. Ministers involved were only reacting to scientific fact and not scientific suspicion. As a result, early warnings were ignored because they could not be substantiated.

The first BSE working party was set up by MAFF in 1988 under Sir Richard Southwood. Neither Southwood nor his three colleagues had active research experience of spongiform diseases and their findings were...

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