Not long ago, when mad cow disease (BSE) in the UK was thought to be under control, there was much publicity about the renewed safety of eating British beef. Indeed, when EU sanctions were lifted, German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder went so far as to claim he’d soon be eating some.
Since then, however, German politicians have come under fire for not taking the threat seriously enough. Until mid-November 2000, the government insisted no BSE existed in Germany. Before then, BSE cases and its human variant, vCJD, had been reported only in other parts of Europe. Then it appeared in Germany. Both consumers and farmers became unsure and frightened, and the country’s agriculture policy soon came under increased criticism.