21 October 1999
Budgens drops French top fruit

SUPERMARKET chain Budgens has removed French apples and pears from its shelves in protest at the French ban on British beef.

The company, which operates 116 stores across southern England, has replaced the French produce with British fruit.

While other French produce has not been removed, a Budgens spokeswoman told the BBC Today programme that further action would be considered if the ban continued.

Budgens is the first chain to bring in a French ban. Other supermarkets are said waiting to see how the dispute develops.

The Daily Mail says there is growing boycott of French goods across the country. Supermarket giant Tesco has reported a 20% drop in French apple sales.

Agriculture minister Nick Brown is operating his own personal boycott of French goods, and 26 pubs and shops in Hatherleigh in Devon have stopped stocking French produce.

Council plans for a French market in Crewe, Cheshire, were abandoned after farmers threatened to picket the event.

Despite the European Union lifting its three-year BSE ban on British beef in August, France has refused to accept British beef.

Its food agency says it is not satisfied with British figures on BSE cases.