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The next SEAC meeting is not being broadcast live, but will be available to view in archive after the event. If you would like to view archives of previous meetings, this is available at SEAC Events-online.


The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) is appointed by Ministers and sponsored jointly by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Its role is to provide independent expert scientific advice to the Government on spongiform encephalopathies such as BSE, CJD and scrapie. SEAC's remit is wide-ranging, and covers public health, food safety and animal health issues. 

The Committee was formed over 15 years ago and its terms of reference are as follows:

'To advise on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) at the request of:

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department of Health
Food Standards Agency
Scottish Executive
Welsh Assembly Government
Northern Ireland Executive

Provide independent scientific advice on food safety, public and animal health issues relating to TSEs taking account of the remits of other bodies with related responsibilities.

Provide scientifically based assessment of risk from TSEs to public and animal health and food safety taking appropriate account of scientific uncertainty and assumptions in formulating advice. The committee will convey the nature and extent of such uncertainties with the advice.

Advise on important general principles or new scientific discoveries in TSEs to assist in the identification of new or emerging TSE risks for public, animal health and food.

Advise on the scientific basis and risks associated with the introduction of new control measures or the reduction, phasing out or withdrawal of current control measures which are in place to protect public health or animal health from TSEs.

Identify where research is desirable to reduce the scientific uncertainty and inform the assessment of public and animal health and food safety risks relating to TSEs.' 

The committee usually meets between four and six times a year to discuss TSE-related issues and provide scientific advice to Ministers. SEAC has published public summaries, and more recently full minutes of meetings, for all its meetings since October 1997. These documents, which are all available through this website, provide a comprehensive public record of the Committee's conclusions and recommendations.


Many of the documents contained within this website have been published in Portable Document Format (PDF). To view these documents you will need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available as a free download from the Adobe website. get adobe acrobat reader

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Page last updated: 21 September 2005

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