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BSE and CJD: Chronology of a crisis
Lord Phillips

1998: BSE inquiry begins

12 October
1998
Sir Kenneth Calman: "Safe does not mean there is no risk"
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Public hearings into the BSE crisis begin in March. One of the first people to give evidence is Roger Tomkins, whose daughter Clare, a vegetarian for 12 years, had been diagnosed with vCJD. She dies the following month.

Sir Kenneth Calman, former chief medical officer, criticises the former chief veterinary officer Keith Meldrum for failing to pass on vital evidence of the dangers posed by BSE. Sir Kenneth also says his own reassurances to the public that beef was safe to eat did not mean there was no risk.

The inquiry also hears from families of other vCJD victims. They say the NHS treated victims with insensitivity, and tell how they had to accept the liming of their loved onesí bodies before burial.

In September the cattle tracing system is launched and two months later EU agriculture ministers agree to lift the ban on exports of British beef.

The following year a compulsory cull of cows born on or after 1 August 1996 to BSE cases confirmed before 25 November 1998 is introduced.

BSE cases: 3,235
vCJD deaths: 18

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