18 September 1998

Beef ban over by Christmas?

FARM minister, Nick Browns, objective is to get the beef export ban lifted by Christmas.

Speaking at the launch of the Meat and Livestock Commission and Signets management guide, Making Money Out of Beef, he said it was unfair to keep British beef out of the single market on health grounds and the time was right to lift the beef ban.

Fresh from talks with EU farm commissioner, Franz Fischler, Mr Brown said: "My objective is to see that the ban is lifted by Christmas and I have the Prime Ministers direct and personal support on this.

"I have invited officials with any questions about the safeguards we have implemented to come and visit the UK and see the traceability systems in operation," he said.

He added that the MLC guide, which sets out detailed management options for beef producers operating a range of systems, was timely and would help to inform producers of the economic forces and their likely impact on production over the next five years.

At the launch, MLC chairman, Don Curry, said the guide was an essential planning aid. A four page summary was being sent to 80,000 producers who could then claim their free copy of the full guide.

He added that the document was realistic about the future and that the biggest single factor would be the CAP reform.

"While the details of reform have yet to be resolved we know enough to advise producers using the guide on the sort of pressure they are most likely to face and how good planning can take account of these," he added.

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