21 June 2002

Irish beef faces EU export ban

BRUSSELS is to consider imposing export restrictions on Irish beef in response to this years sharp increase in the incidence of BSE.

Addressing the Irish Farmers Association national council in Dublin this week, EU food safety commissioner, David Byrne, said he expected the rate of the disease to exceed 100 cases per million head of cattle within the next fortnight.

"This raises the question of whether the same, or similar, restrictions should apply to Ireland as apply to other countries in this category," he said. According to international trade rules, live exports and meat from older animals should be banned above this rate of incidence, as is the case in the UK.

But Mr Byrne indicated that Irish cases should peak this summer and it may not be necessary to take any extra measures. &#42