Beef: a secret weapon

February 13, 1998

It was odd to see a question about British beef directed to the Ministry of Defence the other day. Had the legacy of BSE prompted a suggestion that British beef might be better used as a biological weapon? "Dear Saddam, please accept this consignment of spare ribs, T-bones and oxtail as a token of our friendship and esteem. Bon appetit?"

Such unlikely scenarios sprung to mind after Hansard on February 4 listed British beef under defence questions. In fact it was a question to the defence secretary asking what plans she (sic) had to promote British beef to our own armed forces. The MoD said it is looking at the possibility of putting more home-grown beef on NAAFI menus. Another thought occurred: could this be a shrewd psychological move? While we know British beef is safe as it has ever been, foreign aggressors may be scared witless by thoughts of troops mad or bad enough to eat it.

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