02 September 1999
Banquet ban on British beef
By FWi staff
A DINNER at the British ambassadors residence in Paris to celebrate the end of the beef export ban has been cancelled after France insisted that the ban stays.
The Meat and Livestock Commission was forced to postpone the celebratory meal after France said that British beef would not be allowed into the country.
The dinner had been scheduled for 9 September. But Paris is not expected to give the go-ahead for British beef exports to France until next month at the earliest.
French officials said the return of British beef to French dining tables would be delayed until its national Food Health and Safety agency had given the all-clear.
The setback, which is expected to keep British beef exports out of France for at least another four weeks, is the second time France has delayed beef shipments.
Jean Glavany, French agriculture minister, said last month that British beef would continue to be blocked until all administrative requirements were fulfilled.
Those requirements were initially expected to be completed at the beginning of this month but will now not be finalised for at least a few more weeks.
France said referral of the question of British beef to its food safety agency was prompted by doubts over the conditions under which the export ban was lifted.
Consumer groups in France, Germany and other European Union (EU) states have denounced the EU decision to lift the embargo as unacceptable.
They claim the level of BSE in Britain is still unacceptably high despite EU warnings that France will breach EU rules if it continues to hold up imports.
Germany has also declined to admit British beef until a decision on the subject is taken by the Bonn parliament later.