26 October 1999
Stakes raised in French meat row

By FWi staff

OPPOSITION leader William Hague has demanded an immediate ban on beef, pork and chicken from France, after the Government refused to act.

Calls for a ban followed revelations that sewage and animal parts were added to French animal feed.

Mr Hague also said it was “ludicrous” for the Government to maintain the ban on British beef on the bone while letting in French beef, reports the London Evening Standard.

Agriculture minister Nick Brown decided against a ban after scientific advisors concluded there was no scientific proof that beef from sewage fed cattle was unsafe.

Deriding this stance, the Tory leader said: “They dont need a scientist; they need a psychiatrist.”

Mr Hague condemned the “revolting” practices used by some French meat producers.

“I dont know how many scientists you need to tell you that eating food that has been prepared in this way is not a good idea.”

The Tory leader also mocked government promises of tough action to get the EU to force France to lift its unilateral ban on British beef, when at the same time it still banned beef on the bone.

“How on earth do you say to French ministers, Please eat our beef but, mind you, we dont eat it ourselves if there is a bone attached to it,” Mr Hague said.

Kent County Council yesterday became the first to ban French meat and others are set to follow.

Tory agriculture spokesman Tim Yeo has called on all 77 Conservative-run councils to drop French meat from school menus, and urged Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy to ask his partys local authorities to join the boycott