Hotel chops beef offal from menu amid 'mad-cow' fears

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The Independent Online
One of Britain's top hotels is defying Government advice by taking beef liver, beef sausages, oxtail and sweetbreads off its menus because of concerns about "mad cow disease".

The five-star Four Seasons Hotel in Park Lane, London, has decided to remove dishes containing beef offal for fear customers could be harmed.

"We are not serving oxtail, sweetbreads or anything containing offal at the moment," said a spokeswoman.

"With these particular items we felt there was a sufficient level of controversy and unease for us to make the decision."

The hotel's culinary reputation is impressive and it hosts the annual dinner of the British Academy of Gastronomes, which is headed by Egon Ronay. Hotel bosses took the decision after talks with their leading French chef, Jean- Christophe Novelli, said the spokeswoman.

Hundreds of schools have already banned beef and several hospitals are considering a ban.

But a new survey shows that most leading restaurants and hotels are carrying on regardless of the controversy.

The Savoy said it had made no changes and was continuing to serve its normal range of beef, including liver.

At London's newest major restaurant, the Terence Conran-owned Mezzo in Soho, chefs said demand for meat dishes was as high as ever. Beef and veal remain as prominent as ever at 21 Queen Street in Newcastle upon Tyne, last year's AA Restaurant of the Year.

"We use beef and veal quite a lot and demand from our customers has not declined as a result of the recent publicity," said manager Nicolas Shottel. "We certainly have no intention of withdrawing anything from the menu."

At L'Ortolan, in Shinfield, near Reading, Berkshire, chef John Burton- Race said beef was still on the menu, but he admitted that the issue was "worrying".

"I am still selling beef and will continue to do so until we hear anything otherwise," he said.