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Boost for farmers as Europe lifts beef ban

[Wednesday 08 March 2006]

Exactly ten years after it disappeared from menus across Europe, British beef is back.

The global export ban on British cattle, beef, and beef products was implemented in March 1996 at the height of the BSE crisis, but was relaxed in 1999 to allow de-boned beef back on to the market.

Boost for farmers as Europe lifts beef ban
Boost for farmers as Europe lifts beef ban

In what will be a major boost for British farmers veterinary experts have today recommended that the ban be finally lifted by EU agriculture officials in Brussels.

It is now expected that the European Commission will endorse the lifting of the embargo and that following a debate in the European Parliament British beef will be back on menus across the continent within six weeks.

Markos Kyprianou, the EU's Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection said: "The UK has made great strides in tackling this disease and has met all of the criteria that were set for the lifting of the beef export ban, in line with scientific and veterinary advice."

The decade since the ban was introduced has seen major restrictions enforced on British beef farmers and the industry as a whole, including movement restrictions and hygiene regulations.

Last year saw 161 cases of BSE in Britain and it is estimated that farmers have lost £675 million in exports since the global ban came in to force.

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