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The question BSE crisis

How has the BSE crisis affected what food you buy and your opinion of other modifications like GM foods?

The BSE crisis has not affected my eating habits or buying habits. Although a link has been established between BSE and CJD the risks are much smaller than for smoking or driving. Although we have had many tragic deaths as a result of BSE/CJD, the number is miniscule compared to the numbers of burgers and sausages eaten since the problem was first identified.

Also the measures now appear to be in place to prevent any increase in the risk. We should continue to investigate the problem and try to find a 'cure' but not worry unduly in the meantime.

Andy Dunhill, 39, associate, Sheffield

I have no problem about eating meat, but I do believe that animals are entitled to a decent life. It is morally abhorrent to feed animals their ground up relatives, especially when the animals are supposed to be vegetarians. I now tend to buy traditionally reared meat and free-range eggs. I do not knowingly eat any GM foods; I do not believe that scientists know as much as they profess, and politicians cannot be trusted on these matters.

Alex Perry

I have continued to eat beef but not hamburgers.

I generally leave pork alone because of the thought of pigswill and what goes into it and mainly eat free range chickens, lamb and fish.

Peter Scott, 56, project manager, Sevenoaks.

Humans have always tampered with nature and arguably we are better off for it. We have effectively genetically modified our food for thousands of years, for example by crossfertilisation, but in a rather crude, uncontrolled and largely unscientific manner, and we have suffered periodically as a result. The problem with GM foods now is not whether their development is desirable, which in principle it is, but the enormous scale and speed of development and its containment. Sooner or later something will almost inevitably go wrong, and it is the potential scale and possible irreversible nature of the ensuing disaster which is of serious concern.

Robert Sparks, principal engineer, Preston

The BSE crisis has not affected my diet at all - I still enjoy a good piece of British beef. The crisis has been blown up out of all proportion for political reasons. If the same publicity was attracted by the issue of site safety, things would have been done at high level which may have saved lives over the last few years. However, I am totally against the meddling that goes on with the natural processes of food cultivation and production. Civil engineering harnesses the forces of nature for the good of mankind - genetic engineering meddles with the course of nature for the harm of mankind.

Daniel Munday, 41, senior building surveyor, High Wycombe

We had just got married and taken on our first mortgage so could not afford real beef when the BSE risk was at its highest. We used to eat 'soya mince' in those days, which tasted more like baked beans! Perhaps that will be our salvation?

Guy Berresford, 42, route manager, Dorking

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