§ Mr. Home Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment his Department's medical advisers have made on the safety of British beef; if he will give guidance to local authorities on the suitability of British beef for catering in schools and other institutions; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
[holding answer 22 April 1996]: The Chief Medical Officer at the Scottish Office accepts the advice of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee that, with the effective enforcement of current controls and the new measures now being introduced, any BSE-related risk from eating beef is likely to be extremely small, and that children are at no greater risk than adults. In a letter to doctors on 20 March, the Chief Medical Officer made clear his view that there is no reason why people should not continue to eat beef. The Scottish Office Education and Industry Department also wrote on 27 March to chief executives of local authorities, to directors of education and to other interested parties, including independent schools, conveying the advisory committee's advice and stressing the Government's view that there was no reason to advise that beef should be withdrawn from school meal menus.