2001

By Philip Clarke

BEEF exporters are preparing to resume their fledgling business that was brought to a halt by foot-and-mouth last February.

Under the terms of the agreement signed off by EU commissioners on Tuesday (Oct 30), exports may now begin from those counties that have had no cases of the disease this year.

That takes in the Scotbeef plant at Straden in Lanarkshire, one of just two approved under the date-based export scheme (DBES).

Scotbeef first started exporting under the DBES in September 1999, and managing director Ian Galloway says he wants to get back to shipping beef as quickly as possible.

Although the plant was processing only 10t a week at its peak, he remains optimistic. “If we get a clear run without any more disasters, we should be able to build the business.”

Peter Scott, secretary general of the British Meat Federation, says a resumption of exports will be a psychological boost, but the real challenge is to get beef shipments approved outside the DBES.