Letter: BSE is rife in dairy herds so why don't we worry about milk?

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Sir: My family and I stopped eating beef on our return to the UK in 1990. At the time, it was apparent that the Government was responsible for a large scale experiment to see if prions (the transmissible agent in BSE/CJD) were orally transmissible from beef to humans. The evidence is gathering that prions are orally transmissible to humans. The ease of that transmission will determine whether there will be tens of cases of CJD, hundreds or thousands attributable to the decision to await events.

The Government should have taken steps to eradicate BSE from the British herd as soon as the epidemic became apparent. The Government's defence has been that it took the best scientific advice. The Government took selective advice from the scientific and medical establishment whose judgement may have been influenced by short term political expediency.

Simon J Ellis

Consultant Neurologist

North Staffordshire

Royal Infirmary

Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire