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Insight: Mad cows and the UK's beef industry

05 February 2007

UK - British beef is back on European dinner tables. Last week, the European Union lifted the ban it imposed on UK beef exports in 1996 to protect consumers against meat infected with mad cow disease (BSE).
The ban had a devastating effect on the British beef industry, and when it was imposed the UK government's handling of the BSE epidemic in cattle was widely portrayed as a national scandal. Yet it has become clear that early government action may have helped to save thousands of lives, not to mention the global beef trade.

Though BSE was detected first in British cattle, this was just the UK's bad luck. The Phillips report, a 4000-page review of the BSE crisis commissioned by the UK government and published in 2000, concluded that the abnormal prion protein that causes BSE emerged spontaneously. It could have appeared in any cattle herd anywhere in the world

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Source: New Scientist.com


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