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Friday, 18 June, 1999, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Keith Meldrum: Official vet
Keith Meldrum: Former chief veterinary officer at MAFF
If anyone could claim to have had their in-tray filled to overflowing with the BSE epidemic, it was probably Keith Meldrum.

His career with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food began in 1963, after two years in general practice as a veterinary surgeon.

In June 1988, when public concern over BSE was approaching its height, Meldrum was appointed the ministry's chief veterinary officer.

He held the post until April 1997, more than a year after the announcement that scientists believed there was a link between BSE and its human equivalent, CJD.

'Tried' to keep public fully informed

Keith Meldrum's evidence to the Inquiry was as combative as the reputation he built for himself during those turbulent years.

He said Maff had an open policy on BSE, and had tried "as far as we were able" to keep the public, the scientists and the international authorities fully informed.

"I believe the measures necessary to control and eradicate BSE were put in place, and that some of the measures were inspirational," Meldrum said.

He stressed that he had had a very good relationship with the chief medical officer, Sir Kenneth Calman, who also carried a heavy load during the epidemic.

"I was particularly concerned at the suggestions that in 1994 and 1995 there was a lack of communication between ourselves and the Department of Health," Mr Meldrum told the inquiry.


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