02 July 1998
Beef-on-bone ban may be lifted early next year
THE controversial beef-on-the-bone ban could be lifted in March next year.
Dr Jack Cunningham, agriculture minister, has told Downing Street that by then no cattle entering the food chain should have been exposed to feed infected by BSE.
MAFF officials are hoping the chief medical officer will give the all-clear on beef on the bone in March, allowing for the resumption of trade in cuts such as ribs and T-bone steaks.
Tony Blair, Prime Minister, has pressed Dr Cunningham to lift the ban as soon as it can be justified on public health grounds. Mr Blair is said to be increasingly alarmed at the growing hostility in the countryside towards his Government.
Dr Cunningham defended the ban in an interview with the Financial Times yesterday. He said it was important for him to be able to go to the European Commission, to the council of farm ministers and the European Parliament and be able to assert with “absolute integrity” that British beef is safe.
- Financial Times 02/07/98 page 1