23 May 1997

Commission plans for EU BSE rules a vital breakthrough

By Shelley Wright

BRITISH farming industry groups have welcomed the EU commission plans to force all member states to introduce the same BSE control measures that operate in the UK (News, May 16).

NFU leader, Sir David Naish, said: "We have been pushing the commission for some time to introduce a ban on specified risk material in human and animal feed throughout the Community.

"For too long beef has been imported into this country which does not meet the same BSE controls as the UK. Consumers can have complete confidence in British beef and the NFU will continue to work towards the implementation of high standards throughout the EU."

Colin Maclean, director general of the Meat and Livestock Commission, hailed the move as a vital breakthrough. "Here at last is the recognition of what we have said all along – BSE is not simply a British problem," he said.

"With all the precautions we have been taking for the past eight years, consumers can eat British beef with confidence. Other beef producers in Europe should have to meet the same standards that we do. Consumers everywhere deserve the best protection."

He added that the commission proposals were a clear admission that consumers were at risk from eating beef produced elsewhere in Europe. And if the EU was committed to consumer safety then it must take the next logical step and lift the ban on British beef.

"With our industry experience in applying the BSE controls, we are years ahead of the rest of Europe. Consumer safety is now clearly best protected by eating British beef," said Mr Maclean. &#42