24 November 1999
Italy welcomes British beef

By Shelley Wright

THE first consignment of British beef in four years has arrived in the Italian city of Milan.

A one-tonne consignment of Scotch beef arrived in Milan this afternoon (Wednesday), said Italian beef importer Giacinto Fusetti.

Mr Fusetti announced the news during an Agenda 2000 seminar at the Scottish National Winter Fair in Perth.

He said that beef exports could be further encouraged if the government lifted its ban on beef on the bone.

Before the 1996 ban, 90% of British exports to Italy were bone-in heifer beef. Now it has to be boneless, vacuum-packed and boxed.

Dr Frusetti told the audience: “We look forward to the bone-in ban being lifted because we want your beef again”

Industry leaders and farmers said the consignment marked the start of a big drive to regain a once lucrative market for Scottish producers.

But two major hurdles to British beef exports remain; the beef-on-the-bone ban and the strength of Sterling, they added.

Ian Galloway, chairman of Scotbeef, the only company in Scotland operating exports, agreed that Sterlings strength was a problem.

But more orders for Italy were in the pipeline, in addition to the regular trade already established with Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The beef arriving in Milan this week was transported through France without incident despite the ongoing French ban on British beef.