THE family of a young woman who died of the human form of mad cow disease can’t believe the food chain is still unsafe.

Alex and Jennifer Garven of The Dale, Upton, Chester, lost their 20-year-old daughter Kirsty to vCJD in 2000 after she must have eaten beef infected with BSE.

Now the Garvens are worried about the widespread adulteration of beef-based ready meals with cheap horse meat.

“They reckon there’s no danger but that’s what they reckoned with BSE,” said Mrs Garven. “After BSE they said ‘that’s it’, food was supposed to be thoroughly scrutinised. It’s a bit scary.”

The grandmother, who has another daughter Rachel, said there were fears the medication used to treat horses could be harmful to humans.

And she wonders what other rules are being flouted.

“That’s something else to worry about, if you’ve eaten something that’s got infected with something, it’s profiteering at its worst.”

Mrs Garven told an inquest her daughter had eaten a normal diet throughout her childhood but was a ‘devil for McDonalds’ and ate Campbell’s meatballs more than anyone else in her family.

Kirsty became emaciated and was unable to walk or talk before she died after 14 months of suffering. Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Mrs Garven said it was still difficult to accept what had happened to Kirsty.

“CJD seems to have calmed down. Hopefully it’s one of those freak things. But why did Kirsty get it?

“There have been relatively few people in this country who have died from it but why did it pick on my child?”

Today Mrs Garven has a three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, Chloe, whose middle name is Kirsty in memory of her late aunt. Young Chloe helps her look forward to the future with more optimism.

“It’s still really upsetting. It’s not quite as bad as it was but we always think about her,” said Mrs Garven, whose daughter is buried in Waverton where the family used to live when Kirsty was alive. “You’ve just got to get on with it.”

The family are more careful about their own diet these days. They don’t eat much beef and tend to stick to fish and vegetables.

“It’s shocking this has been allowed to happen.

“You think when you buy something from the supermarket that it must be all right but there you go.

“Perhaps we’ll all have to become vegetarians.”