Australian’s have overreacted to the threat of BSE, claims Newcastle University economics lecturer John Fisher. He added that moves such as banning blood donors pose a far greater threat to humans than mad cow disease.

Many high profile steps have been taken to ensure the European beef crisis does not reach Australia. Imports of beef and beef products have been banned from 30 European countries, and if people have spent over 6 months in the UK between 1980 and 1996 they are not allowed to give blood.

Fisher believes things have gone too far in the light of the scant evidence that surrounds the BSE panic. “The cost from a shortage of blood products in Australia will far outweigh the remote possibility of a British blood donor having the human equivalent of Mad Cow Disease CJD, and being able to pass it on to a blood recipient here,” he said, adding, “There has been an overreaction which has led to .. in many ways a gross misallocation of attention and resources.”