chapter  4
18 Pages

The BSE crisis: public health and the ‘risk society’: Rob Baggott

The BSE crisis clearly illustrates the multilevel and multifaceted nature of policy disasters.1 Over and above its effect on the beef industry and the potential implications for human health, the crisis had an adverse impact on the fortunes of the Major government, further undermined the UK’s relationship with Europe and exposed flaws in the operation of European Union institutions. This chapter focuses upon the development of the crisis, up to the official announcement in March 1996 of a possible link between BSE and its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD).2 The so-called ‘beef war’ that developed in the aftermath of the March announcement is excluded from this analysis and remains for others to explore.