The main points of the BSE inquiry report are as follows:
BSE developed into an epidemic as a result of an intensive farming practice - the recycling of animal protein in ruminant feed. This proved a "recipe for disaster".
Government ministers played down the links between BSE-infected beef and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
They also misled the public about the risks posed by mad cow disease.
Up to March 1996, most of those responsible for responding to BSE did so with credit, though there were shortcomings.
The government was too preoccupied with preventing a panic reaction to BSE and therefore the way in which the risk was communicated to the public was flawed.
Although a ban existed in 1989 to prevent specified bovine offal - brain, spinal cord and other tissue - entering the human food chain, there was a failure to enforce it properly.
A failure to ensure proper communication between government departments meant the Department of Health was not kept informed of the increasing weight of evidence proving a link between BSE and vCJD.
Ministers and civil servants failed to develop any contingency plans to cope with a situation whre vCJD was found to be caused by BSE-infected beef despite the fact years had passed since the first evidence of a link had been uncovered.
The government relied too much on experts from the spongiform
encephalopathy advisory committee (SEAC) to formulate policy and spent too long consulting with experts before implementing advice.
A "lack of rigour" was applied when considering how to turn policy into practice, partly because until early 1996 many believed there was no threat to human life.
The ministry of agriculture did not favour agriculture producers over consumers.
The meat and livestock commission is accused of "absurd exaggerations".
The commission's 1995 advertising campaign that aimed to reassure people about the safety of beef created a climate where "hyperbole replaced accuracy".
A combination of delays and denials prompted the public to feel deceived and undermined their confidence in public statements.
The probable link between BSE and vCJD was identified as early as reasonably possible.
The link is now clearly established, though the manner of infection is not clear.