A news report that made the alleged link between a Chinese restaurant and the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease has sparked the largest number of complaints ever reached by the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC). The broadcasting watchdog has dismissed the complaints however.

The BSC received 1,082 complaints about a news report aired on the News Direct 97.3FM radio station, which suggested that Nick Brown, the then agriculture minister, was about to reveal a link between the first case of the highly contagious virus and infected meat leftovers from a Chinese restaurant in the north of England.

News Direct maintained that the report was unbiased and truthful. The link had already appeared in newspaper articles, and the then Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was not denying the report.

Complainants argued that the report was intended to undermine the Chinese community in the UK. The BSC concluded however that News Direct displayed "no intention to undermine the Chinese community or incite racial disharmony."