Escalating concerns surrounding the safety of French beef has led the government to consider banning the sale of beef served on the bone. The French food safety authority (AFSSA) has also revealed that it is possible that it will soon order the total removal of butchered cattle's spinal column, to prevent it from entering the food chain. Two weeks ago, it was revealed that several major French supermarkets had unknowingly stocked their shelves with cattle originating from a herd infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), otherwise known as mad cow disease. Since then consumer panic has grown almost hand in hand with the theories on how the cattle were contaminated in the first place.The AFSSA is expressing concern that infectious material from the spine could infect steaks destined for the shelves during the process of cutting and preparing the meat. Agriculture Minister Jean Glavany also spoke of the possibility of banning the use of bone meal in animal feed, already banned in cattle but not chicken or pigs, a move that will take precedence over established international trading agreements. It is possible that bone meal intended for other animals had actually ended up in the cattle trough and inadvertently caused the spread of the disease, 166 cases of which have been uncovered in France this year alone.Food retailers are responding quickly to the government's consideration of the new meat proposals.