By FWi staff
BRUSSELS is set to introduce a new special purchase scheme for older beef as it moves to clear more of the surplus overhanging the EU market.
The plan, expected to be ratified next week, may replace the existing purchase for destruction (PFD) scheme in countries which can test all their older beef for BSE, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Holland.
Eligible animals will be those that do not currently qualify for intervention – mainly cows – that are over 30 months old and which have all tested negatively for BSE. Meat can be stored for sale or destroyed.
Member states may, however, continue to use PFD, which pays farmers fixed compensation for untested over-30-month animals, until June 30, when BSE testing becomes compulsory. This has been welcomed by Irish farmers groups as it means steers, as well as cows, will still be taken off the market.
UK farmers are exempted from both schemes because all over-30-month animals are banned from the human food chain here.