Mad Cow Disease: BBC documentary examines Britain's most infamous beef scandal tonight

A new documentary will examine the outbreak of mad cow disease and how it led to what remains Britain's most infamous food scandal on the BBC tonight (11 July).

By Claire Schofield
Wednesday, 10 July, 2019, 15:53
Mad Cow Disease has been responsible for around 200 deaths since its discovery (Photo: BBC)

The chilling programme looks in detail at spectacular government misjudgement and warns that there is still no cure for the deadly disease - or any way of pinpointing carriers.

The Great British Beef Scandal

Mad cow disease, and its human form vCJD, was first identified in 1996 and has been responsible for around 200 deaths since its discovery.

Breaking out in the 1980s, the disease spread rapidly across the country through infected meat and bone meals being which was being fed to livestock. Mad Cow Disease eventually entered the human food chain, resulting in the culling of more than four million cows and almost destroying the British beef industry in the process.

Tonight’s documentary also follows the story of Annie McVery, who lost her daughter Claire to the human variant of the disease in 2000, aged just 15.

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Claire's decline from a cheerful teen to a young woman barely able to speak and stand is captured in the programme in a series of home movies, with her mother keen to assign blame for her suffering.

Claire is just one of nearly 200 people who died when meat from cattle fed on bovine spongiform encephalopathy-infection spinal cords entered the food chain.

When is it on TV?

Mad Cow Disease: The Great British Beef Scandal will air on BBC Two tonight (11 Jul) at 9pm.