TB-infected beef sold back into UK food chain by DeFRA

30 Jun

cow2JPGAccording to the Sunday Times today, DeFRA – The UK government’s Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs – has been selling diseased cattle meat to caterers who supply hospitals, schools and the armed forces.

They have bought the carcasses of cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis and sold them back into the food chain.

Despite concerns by several agencies, Defra sees no wrong in its actions.

“We are the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on environmental, food and rural issues. Our priorities are to grow the rural economy, improve the environment and safeguard animal and plant health.”

The above quote is from their website.

DeFRA recently charred its already dirty reputation with most Brits by shrugging off the scandal of horse meat appearing in beef products. When the news broke in Europe, DeFRA’s head of public affairs legged it over to France for an ‘important meeting’ and laid low. As the full extent of corruption in the food chain was revealed over following weeks, DeFRA seemed curiously detached from the situation.

Is it not puzzling that a Ministerial Department responsible for regulating and monitoring the food supply chain in the UK should

*decline to take leadership in a contamination crisis?

*generate approximately $14m revenue by purchasing and selling diseased cattle meat into the human food chain?

*not mention anything in its mission statement (above) about human welfare – any duty to citizens and consumers?


Perhaps, their point is that their priority is to maintain the wealth and prosperity of those who own the fields and the cows. That they are not concerned with any consequential issues. Not concerned with issues relating to health and the possible spread of disease – however small.

But in a political era where the UK government has fostered exaggerated fears of terrorism, economic uncertainty, financial insecurity and invasion of privacy among its citizens, is it not strange that one of its own departments intentionally sells tens of thousands of tons of meat from diseased cattle into its own country’s food chain?

It does not take a conspiracy theorist to notice that DeFRA have again expressed not one single concern at their wildly indefensible actions while the Press and public are again outraged. Once more, actions that are highly likely to cause distress and concern among the public have come from…a government department. 

Can DeFRA’s actions really have been the result of ignorance and innocence as to the risks being taken with the public’s health and wellbeing?

The Sunday Times quotes DeFRA’s chief scientist Ian Boyd warning that bTB (bovine Tuberculosis) could “spill over” to pets and “potentially to humans”.

M bovis, the bacterium that causes bTB can survive cooking up to 60C. – source: Sunday Times, 30th June 2013


5 Responses to “TB-infected beef sold back into UK food chain by DeFRA”

  1. Linda Vernon July 24, 2013 at 5:03 am #

    This is astonishingly horrible. What are are they thinking? What is wrong with those people?. How could they be so arrogant?

    • roadwax July 24, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

      ‘astonishingly horrible’ – the perfect analysis.

      DeFRA’s lame defense is that there is such limited statistical evidence that TB will jump across from the infected food to humans. They do, though, accept that there IS a risk – one which tragically ocurred when UK BSE-infected beef hospitalised some consumers, some years back.

      Like you, I find that for the government dept. responsible (apparently) for environmental affairs to behave like this is even wronger than wrong. Mystifiying.

      • Linda Vernon July 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

        It is mystifying. And it begs the question: What in the world is going on???

        • roadwax July 24, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

          As usual, I am just one ill-considered adjective away from finding myself in a court room, so I shall simply take this opportunity to whole-heartedly agree with you!

          • Linda Vernon July 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

            Hahah! just one ill-considered adjective away! hahah! I shall always think of you thusly Loop! 😀

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