Act on Germans or ban exports

2 March 2001

‘Act on Germans or ban exports’

By FWi staff

BRUSSELS must force Germany to improve its BSE beef controls or ban exports from that country immediately, urges a leading farmers representative.

National Farmers Union president Ben Gill said he was horrified to hear that more German beef contaminated with spinal column had been imported to Britain.

Inspectors discovered consignments of German and Dutch beef containing the banned specified risk material had been discovered in safety checks at Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Spinal cord has already been found in consignments of German beef this year, raising questions on how effectively EU controls are being enforced.

“It is infuriating that a country that has lectured us on our standards in the past is so lax in implementing the rules we have had in place for years,” said Mr Gill.

Imports are set to increase while the UK livestock movement ban, imposed to stop the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, continues.

The NFU has already called on European Food Safety Commissioner David Byrne to shut down immediately the abattoirs responsible.

And Mr Gill is seeking an urgent meeting with Mr Byrne on Monday, when he will call for an immediate blanket ban on German exports if action is not taken.

He said: “This is doubly crucial since our ban on moving animals to slaughter because of foot-and-mouth will inevitably suck in extra imports to Britain.

“British farmers – who have worked tirelessly to make our beef amongst the safest anywhere – should not have to put up with seeing sub-standard imports.

“Nor should our consumers be put at risk.”

Mr Gill said it was crucial to get limited and strictly-controlled movements of British animals started as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Agriculture is expected to make an announcement on Friday (02 March) to permit this under stringent conditions

The NFU president praised the vigilance of the Food Standards Agency in checking beef imports and preventing the contaminated beef reaching the shops.

See more