The advice was requested by agriculture Lord Whitty in advance of a House of Lord debate on a motion to remove the TSE (England) Regulations 2002.
TSEs (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies) refer to conditions such as BSE and scrapie. The TSE regulations allow for the enforcement of controls to remove specified risk material (SRM) from cattle. SRM controls are estimated to remove 95% of any BSE infectivity that may that may be present in cattle.
Sir John Krebs, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: 'I would stress that the controls we have in place against BSE are vital. Removal of these controls would represent a significant risk to public health. The Agency regards as paramount the need to continue to offer maximum protection to consumers against the risk of BSE.'