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Government in date-based schemetalks with Brussels

06 April 1998
Government in date-based scheme
talks with Brussels

GOVERNMENT officials plan to meet European Commission bureaucrats over the next few weeks to “put the finishing touches” to Britains date-based export scheme.

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Government in date-based schemetalks with Brussels

06 April 1998
Government in date-based scheme
talks with Brussels

By Boyd Champness

GOVERNMENT officials plan to meet European Commission bureaucrats over the next few weeks to “put the finishing touches” to Britains date-based export scheme.

The MInistry of Agriculture has sent a letter to all relevant industry bodies, asking for their opinions on how to tackle the Commissions suggested improvements to the scheme.

It calls on farmer leaders, consumer groups and the meat industry to get their responses back before 30 April to ensure there is no additional hold-up in getting the scheme approved.

In the coming weeks, Commission officials are expected to visit UK abattoirs, farms and other sites to assess whether the appropriate controls have been put in place before recommending the scheme to the Standing Veterinary Committee.

The date-based scheme proposes to lift the global beef-export ban on cattle born after 1 August, 1996, the date when meat and bone meal feed was banned.

Brussels has already accepted the Governments certified herd scheme, which allows for the export of animals whose history can be traced on a national computerised database. However, Northern Ireland is the only area currently permitted to export meat under this arrangement.

A MAFF spokesman said the letter was “simply” a case of the Government trying to plan ahead.

“People shouldnt read anything into it. It doesnt mean we have a specific date pencilled in for when the commission puts forward the scheme,” he said.

“But saying that, things have been received favourably so far,” he added.

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