26 October 2001

Clear counties beef go-ahead

BEEF exports from those GB counties that have had no cases of foot-and-mouth this year have been given the go-ahead by EU vets meeting in Brussels on Wednesday (Oct 24).

And, in a further move towards market normality, Brussels has extended the list of counties eligible to export pigmeat to include all those that have been free of F&M for over 90 days. "That just leaves Cumbria, North Yorks, Northumberland, mid-Wales and Devon as areas unable to export pigmeat," said a UK government source in Brussels.

The decision on beef has been particularly welcomed by meat industry representatives, especially as the Scotbeef plant at Bridge of Allan, registered under the date-based export scheme, will be covered.

"This is an excellent step forward," said the Meat and Livestock Commissions international manager, Peter Hardwick. "There was never any logic to excluding beef anyway. South America has based its entire export business on regionalisation and supplying mature, de-boned beef. That is exactly what we do with our date-based export scheme."

A separate commission proposal to allow sheepmeat exports to resume from counties unaffected by F&M this year was rejected by member state vets who said it was still too soon for such a move. &#42

Philip Clarke