SARAH DUNANT, writer: I'm with the Germans on this one. When I researched my crime novel Fatlands I felt very suspicious that there was a BSE cover-up. I won't allow my children to eat burgers, which annoys them, but they do understand the risk. Gummer must regret feeding his child the burger as a publicity stunt, it was unforgiveable.

THE HON NICHOLAS SOAMES, MP, Minister for Food: Yes, in large quantities, whenever I can and with the greatest pleasure.

ANNA MASSEY, actress: Absolutely not. I've never been a terrific red meat eater, but I would have stopped if I had been when the scare arose. If I go to dinner parties I eat a bit and then just move the food around my plate. You can't make a fuss. After all, one is so bloody lucky to be invited to dinner parties these days.

EARL 16, reggae singer: The only beef I eat is beef-flavour soya chunks. My uncle in Jamaica was a butcher and I used to go killing cows and goats every Friday to have fresh meat on Saturday. I had enough then to last a lifetime.

CLARE LATIMER, caterer: I'm extremely pro-beef, I make an effort to eat more than most people because I try to support the industry and because I like it. I especially like a piece of tenderloin or a steak with caramelised topping, and I like it rare.

EDWARD BRAIN, beef and sheep farmer: It's just different opinions - one scientist against another. I think it's safe. Foot and mouth disease came from Argentina, so perhaps we have got safer beef here.

JO GRIFFITHS, retail sales consultant: I'm on the verge of giving red meat up since the scares about BSE. I certainly don't eat things like sausages that have got nasty bits in them. I disagree with the way animals are killed because of the hygiene aspect. I've heard stories about how they scrape up all the bits off the floor in abattoirs.

JOHN GUMMER, Secretary of State for the Environment: England without beef - an impossible thought. Preferably roast, with roast potatoes and good firm Brussels sprouts - but I'm always happy with a hamburger.

LUCY BULL, student: I haven't touched beef since the BSE scare - apart from the occasional treat of organic meat. There's no way spaghetti bolognese or shepherd's pie are worth the risk. Apart from anything else we found out about how disgustingly cows are treated.

MARTIN SEED, store manager: I only hesitate at burgers from iffy-looking vendors when you've got no idea where the meat's from.

MICHAEL WINNER, film director: I gave up red meat some time ago, but that has nothing to do with the BSE scare. I don't believe for a minute that there will be two million Englishmen walking around with mad cow disease - I've never met even one. The ban is just scaremongering.

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