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BSE and CJD: Chronology of a crisis
J Major

1996: BSE - CJD link

20 March
1996
Ministers admit they may have been wrong
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On 20 March the then Conservative government announces that a probable link between BSE and vCJD has been established.

But the government’s Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) concludes the most likely explanation is that the vCJD cases are linked to exposure to BSE before the introduction of the bovine offal ban in 1989.

One week later the European Union bans all exports of British beef.

25 March
1996
The European Union bans all exports of British beef
video icon real 56K

The following day the government announces tighter BSE controls. A 30-month slaughter scheme is introduced in an effort to ensure that all cows over the age of 30 months at the time of slaughter do not enter the human food or animal feed chain.

Prime Minister John Major declares "beef war" at summit in Florence, predicting that the EU ban will be lifted by end of year.

Cattle passports are also introduced.

BSE cases: 8,149
CJD deaths: 10

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