School Meal Link To CJD

The Guardian - UK
(Press Association) -- Three victims of CJD, the human form of mad cow disease, all ate the same beef as part of their school dinners, it was reported today.
Schoolboy Richard Roberts, 18, potter Marianne Harvey, 25, and musician Richard Cole, 30, who all died of the disease, lived within 12.5 miles (20km) of each other in west Wales during the late 1980s and early '90s.
An inquiry into the links between the three cases in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire found that two of the victims, Ms Harvey and Mr Cole, attended the same school where they ate school meals.
The third, Mr Roberts, went to a different school, but the meat used in meals there came from the same abattoir, the probe by the National Public Health Service for Wales has found.
The high-quality meat, used in school meals across Dyfed Powys, came from a local slaughterhouse where older animals had also been processed, putting the beef for school meals at risk of cross-infection.
The inquiry team could not say that the three victims had picked up the disease from school meals, but ruled out infection through a number of other channels.
The report, released under the Freedom of Information Act, states that: "There is no evidence to suggest that unfit meat was supplied directly to schools, colleges and other establishments in the Dyfed Powys area, but the possibility that alleged irregularities in slaughterhouse practice may have resulted in a higher than average level of BSE entering the human food supply, cannot be ruled out.
"If, in connection with these local factors, an amplified risk had indeed existed it was likely to be widespread both in west Wales and beyond, and more cases may be expected to occur."
Julie Roberts, of Carmarthen, whose son Richard died of the disease, told a national newspaper: "This means the disease could be more widespread with others out there incubating it. That would make it a time-bomb waiting to go off."
Rae Harvey, of Tenby, whose daughter Marianne also died, told the newspaper: "For a long time we have suspected the link with school dinner. It's the only link between the three cases." © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005,5500,1430618,00.html



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