Ministerial Statements on BSE and CJD
The video below provides some of the main policy statements on BSE and CJD between 1990 and 2000.
The extracts are from the:
1) The Agriculture Minister from 1990
This statement was followed with another similar one from the House of Commons 8/6/90, Hansard Column 906.
This video is a tribute to victims of variant CJD.
Food Safety Policy:
It needs to about more than risk and safety
There needs to be a discussion which is broader than merely a discussion of risk and safety. Ministers and policy makers need to consider fundamental concerns over transparency and accountability in the food system. The agricultural minister spoke about the 'clear action of the government' as if the government can intervene on behalf of the public. However, the public has to become more involved in decision-making and equal partner with government in making decisions.
Transparency and Accountability
In terms of transparency, the public needs access to parts of the food chain which remain hidden such as abattoirs. The public also needs access to research laboratories where animal experimentation has been undertaken. The food industry needs to allow such access and involvement. It needs to allow this admittance so that it can deal with 'urban food consumers' and their disconnection from how food is produced. The food system then needs to be accountable to the public. Perhaps, a citizen's jury, representing public interests, could decide which parts of the food system are allowed to operate and how they operate. The public would then be setting standards for the industry. This would include setting standards for research laboratories. It is very difficult to consider how the public should inform and help determine policy in practice. However, it is clear that the 'clear action of the government' has been insufficient at dealing with public concerns.