Slide 1

5 December 1997

Z/Yen Limited, the leading risk/reward management firm, has undertaken desk research to try to shed some light on the relative risks and rewards which have led to the recent prohibition of beef-on-the-bone.

The scientific evidence upon which the beef ban is based is said to have identified a 5% chance that one UK citizen a year contracts new-form CJD from eating beef-on-the-bone (reference: BBC Radio 4, Farming Today, 4 December). Z/Yen has not been able to verify this probability and notes that various elements of the press have interpreted the risk identified by the scientific evidence differently. Assume the reliability of the probability quoted; this is one chance in a billion each year.

Without getting in to the obvious comparisons which are being quoted in the tabloid press (e.g. more likely to be hit by a meteorite, more likely to be mauled to death by a crocodile etc.) there are some obvious implications if regulation is required for risks greater than or equal to that of beef on the bone.


Possible regulations


Death by domestic fire

ban television and similar domestic appliances

significantly higher risk than beef-on-the-bone

Death by motor accident

ban all road transportation

80,000 times more likely cause of death than CJD from eating beef-on-the-bone
even higher risk of non-fatal but serious injury

Accidental death by falling object landing on head

require crash helmets to be worn at all times


Death by lightning

require lightening rods on all residences and public buildings
require individuals to attach lightening rods to their mandatory crash helmets

a worrying risk which is easily mitigated

Death by choking on fish bone

prohibit the eating of fish

beef bone is not the only danger bone

In addition, death by various Christmas related causes (e.g. heart, hypertensive or cerebrovascular disease induced through over indulgence, holiday-related suicide) should be considered. Although difficult risks to measure, Christmas risk is demonstrably higher than death by beef-on-the-bone. We are reluctantly forced to advocate the prohibition of Christmas. There are additional benefits attached to this prohibition. Bah humbug. Merry Christmas to all our friends in the press.

Z/Yen specialises in risk/reward management, an innovative approach to improving organisational performance. Z/Yen clients to date include blue chip companies in banking, insurance, distribution as well as several charities and care organisations.

For further information please contact:
Ian Harris
Tel: (0171) 562-9562