Burial for unwanted burgers

At least 36 million burgers, sausages, pies and lasagnes are to be buried underground in landfill sites as a result of the BSE crisis, it was revealed last night, writes Fran Abrams.

More than 150,000 cattle will also be disposed of in the same way, according to the board which is dealing with the problem. Officials say there is no risk to the public in getting rid of the unwanted food in this way, but last night a member of the House of Commons' Environment Select Committee said she believed the only really safe method was incineration.

The 8,000 tons of pies, burgers and other ready-prepared foods were withdrawn from sale by restaurant chains, shops and manufacturers after the beef scare blew up last year. Although the government did not compensate firms for the loss of the goods, it took on the cost of storing them and disposing of them. The food is being kept in cold storage at sites around the country and is expected to be buried by the end of the Summer.