Ban lifted

Published: Tuesday 31 August 1999

after a three-year battle , the ban on British beef exports has finally been lifted. On July 14, the European Commission ( eu ) ruled that sales would resume from August 1. The ban was imposed on March 1996, after scientists identified a potential link between bse ( popularly known as the madcow disease), which afflicts cattle, and a similar disease affecting people in Europe.

The ban on beef exports has already cost Britain at least us $2.3 billion in lost sales. Hence, the decision to end the embargo was warmly welcomed in the country, which has always argued that the ban was unfair. Now, British exporters are planning to target markets in France, the main buyer of uk beef before the ban, as well as the Netherlands, Belgium and South Africa for early sales. However, the gloomy days are far from over, fears Terry Lee, who heads the export market for Britain's Meat and Livestock Commission. He feels livestock owners in France and Italy will put pressure on supermarkets not to buy British beef. He added that initial exports would be mostly to high-end restaurants and butcher shops. The first shipment of beef is destined for a restaurant in Lille, France.

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