26 March 1999

Scottish trial to prove beef exports safe

THE Scottish meat trade is pressing ahead with action to allow a resumption of beef exports as soon as possible.

A second trial to measure traceability and the percentage of cattle meeting export standards was conducted last week. Results will be announced to the meat export forum which is due to meet next week.

EU auditors are expected in Scotland immediately after Easter to inspect the checks and controls that have been put in place to back up the date-based export scheme.

The first trial showed that about 50% of finished cattle being marketed could meet the export standards including verification that the dams had lived for six months after the birth of individual animals.

It is understood that there is to be co-operation among meat firms so that two plants can become dedicated to export standards. Other abattoirs would ensure the plants received enough qualifying cattle to maintain normal throughput.

Meanwhile, Scottish NFU leaders were due to meet farm minister Lord Sewel yesterday (Thur) to press for a continuation of government funding of BSE-related meat hygiene controls until the export trade is resumed. &#42