Worry over giving lamb to children

October 20, 2001 The Times (London) by Valerie Elliott
SIR JOHN KREBS, the food standards watchdog, is under pressure to issue new guidance on the safety of feeding British lamb and mutton to babies and children.

The demand was made by Harriet Kimbell, the consumer representative on the Government's BSE committee, the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, after news of the bungled tests to establish whether BSE exists in sheep. Professor Kimbell, principal law lecturer at Guildford College of Law, said last night that she did not give any British lamb to her sons, Ben, 18, and Andrew, 15, and had not done so for some years. She disclosed her view because the discovery by scientists that they had been working on the brains of cattle instead of sheep meant that it would be a long time before people would know if BSE existed in sheep.

She said that she chose New Zealand lamb because she knew that scrapie - a disease similar to BSE - did not exist in its national flock. Professor Kimbell spoke out after Sir John disclosed that baby food manufacturers in Britain did not use British lamb.

She welcomed the news but said: "The Food Standards Agency should also consider protection of young children as well as babies, and to look at specific risks to a child. I am not necessarily saying there should be a ban on children eating British lamb but...there should be more information."

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