asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the remarks of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) quoted by Lord Donoughue on 27 January (H.L. Deb., col. 150), whether the CMO considers that, as a matter of general principle, where a significant level of infectivity for a potentially fatal pathogen can be demonstrated in a product which is likely to be eaten by consumers without destroying that infectivity, that product should not be allowed to remain in the human food chain; and, if not, what particular aspects of BSE require its exclusion from the human food chain. [HL370]
§ Lord Donoughue:
I understand that the Chief Medical Officer does feel that, as a matter of principle, he would give advice along the lines described. BSE is a unique case as, unlike other aspects of food-borne diseases, it is not destroyed by normal cooking processes and normal good hygiene practices do not control transmission of infectivity. Moreover, only a small amount (less than one gram) of infected material may be sufficient to cause disease.