BSE ... Ten Years On

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Date: 21 March 2006
Time: 1:00pm
Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, London School of Economics & Political Science
Chair: Professor Bridget Hutter

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required.  For further information, please contact Stephanie Harris s.e.harris@lse.ac.uk| or telephone 020 7849 4635.

Speaker

Professor Hugh Pennington (University of Aberdeen)

Discussant

Dame Deidre Hutton CBE (Chair, Food Standards Agency)

Abstract

In 1996, a possible link between BSE and vCJD was announced in the House of Commons, the biggest British E.coli O157 food poisoning outbreak occurred in central Scotland, and influenza H5N1 emerged as a lethal bird virus in geese in Guandong. In my lecture I will consider risk regulation in the light of these and subsequent events. Striking similarities make my job easier; all three pathogens are new, and while all have been difficult for us to catch, in the sense that their abundance in their natural hosts (ruminants or birds) contrasts with the number of human victims, which has been small, infections by them have had very bad consequences for those individuals. The big public impact of the pathogens has been matched by their influence on the regulatory scene. The topicality of my subject comes, of course, only in part from an anniversary timing; E.coli O157 in Wales in 2005 and the continued spread of H5N1 signifies unfinished business, which I will also consider.

Biographies

Professor Hugh Pennington is Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology at Aberdeen University. He chaired the Pennington Group enquiry into the 1996 outbreak of E.coli O157 infection in central Scotland. He is a member of the Scottish Food Advisory Committee (Food Standards Agency), BBC Rural Affairs Advisory Committee, Vice-Chair of the Broadcasting Council for Scotland, and Director of the Rowett and Moredun Research Institutes. He is also the author When Food Kills (2003) on the topic of BSE, vCJD and E.coli 0157.

Dame Deirdre Hutton CBE is Chair of the Food Standards Agency. She has served on a number of public bodies and has considerable experience of corporate governance, risk-based regulation and consumer policy. She is Vice-Chair of the European Food Safety Authority Management Board and Deputy Chair of the Financial Services Authority. For five years, she was Chair of the National Consumer Council, having formerly chaired the Scottish Consumer Council. Prior to her appointment at the Food Standards Agency, she was a member of the Better Regulation Task Force.

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