9 February 2000
France panics over past beef imports

FRANCE has been caught in a panic over BSE following the revelation that more British beef entered the country before a ban than was first thought

The French paper Le Parisien carries a story suggesting most people probably ate British beef before the dangers of contamination were known.

It quotes a report by the French customs service which found that consumption of British beef doubled between 1988 and 1995.

The newspaper suggests this was the period when the French population were most at risk.

So far two cases of the human form of BSE, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD), have been found in France against 48 in Britain.

The EU lifted its three-and-a-half year BSE ban on British beef in August last year. France and Germany have retained embargoes, citing health concerns.

The European Commission has launched legal action to force France to lift its ban on British beef.