13 October 2000

French say non to lifting beef ban

FRENCH farm minister, Jean Glavany, said this week he had no intention of lifting the ban on British beef, adding that the longer it took for the matter to reach the European court, the better chance France had of winning its case.

Talking to French daily, Le Monde, he said the emergence of a BSE case in the UK in an animal born after Aug 1996 earlier this year justified his precautionary approach.

"Other such cases have been found since, which does not suggest a total and rapid extinction of the epidemic," he said.

Mr Glavany did not expect the matter to reach the trial stage until 2001 or 2002. "Nothing suggests that France will be sentenced in this legal procedure. Quite the opposite – the more time goes by, the more arguments there are supporting the decision we took in 1999."

His comments came in a week when France announced a doubling in its own number of BSE casualties to 62 for the year so far. &#42