21 November 2000
Blair – no ban on French beef
By FWi staff
THERE is no scientific evidence to support a ban on French beef, claims the Government.
This follows reports that Tony Blair was warned of a legal loophole which could leave Britons at risk of inadvertently eating French beef infected with BSE.
The Times reported that farm minister Nick Brown highlighted the risk in a letter to the Prime Minister.
But the Ananova website quotes a Downing Street spokesman who insisted that Mr Brown has not called for a ban on beef reared across the channel.
Neither the Food Standards Agency nor EU scientists think it necessary, the spokesman said.
Asked directly by Ananova if there were plans for a ban, he said: “No, for the simple reason that the scientific advice is not there to justify it.”
Beef from cattle aged over 30 months old can legally be imported into the UK, even though it cannot legally be sold for human consumption.
Fears were expressed that, through a lack of strict controls, some of the meat could end up in low-grade takeaway food.
But Downing Street said there was no evidence that potentially risky French beef was coming in to the country.