By FWi staff

THE National Beef Association (NBA) wants British abbatoirs to be released from the EC-imposed Date Based Export Scheme. It believes UK operators should be able to switch from total plant dedication to be free to export work on a daily basis. If successful, the NBA believes more UK beef will be sold overseas.

Colin Smith, chairman of the NBA export development committee said discussions with MAFF officials, meat traders and industry administrators had found that everyone believed a change from total to daily dedication was the only way the UK could export economically viable options of beef.

“Fortunately we have been able to assemble strong arguments that we hope the Commission will listen to and will back this up by asking every MEP in the UK to put lobby pressure on it too.”

The NBA claims a precedent for daily dedication in export work has already been set in the form of the Brussels approved XAP scheme.

Under this beef primals from abroad can be shipped into the UK for further processing before being re-exported as an added-value product. Plants can suspend their domestic activity and put themselves under EU export supervision for short periods.

Mr Smith said the arrangement was successful because meat plants could move in and out of XAP exports in response to orders on their books.

“We would like a similar provision to be made available to companies in a position to sell UK killed beef overseas too.

“It should be relatively easy to convince EU officials that the XAP cutting room controls can be replaced in short term bursts of DBES activity,” said Mr Smith.