Letter: The politics of food

Sir: As one of Britain's dwindling number of cattle keepers, I have a question for the Chief Medical Officer ("Beef on bone ban must stay, says health chief", 22 January). Why has a zoonotic disease (one that is transferred from animal to man) been diagnosed, when the first principle has not been fulfilled - to identify the disease in the occupationally exposed.

Surely the so-called virulent indestructible BSE pathogen would have been passed to those such as slaughtermen who have worked in an aerosol spray of these tissues for years. What of the knackermen, the hunt, the millers who worked daily in the dust, not to mention the farmers? All these people are prone to cuts and abrasions, risking direct entry into the bloodstream.

Is it not time that serious consideration was given to the idea that this may not be an infection, but the result of an environmental trigger, such as organophosphates?


Maidenhead, Berkshire