HL Deb 27 June 1996 vol 573 cc73-4WA
The Countess of Mar

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have investigated the possibility of a causal link between the introduction of phosmet as the effective ingredient in warble fly dressings on the United Kingdom mainland in 1975 and the first reported outbreak of BSE on the mainland in 1986, and the introduction of phosmet to Northern Ireland in 1978 and the first reported case of BSE in 1989.

Lord Lucas

An epidemiological investigation at the beginning of the BSE outbreak showed no link between incidence of BSE and the use of agricultural chemicals. Subsequent studies have confirmed this. Phosmet has never been licensed for animal health products in Switzerland yet Switzerland has had over 200 cases of BSE, none of which was imported from the UK. On the contrary, however, we understand from the company which markets products containing phosmet that it is licensed as a warblecide at the same dose as the UK in France and Ireland, where BSE is very rare, and in Hungary, where it has never been reported, and is licensed as a treatment against lice in Australia and New Zealand at half the dose rate. There have never been cases of BSE reported in Australia or New Zealand.