Bone ban defence
FARM minister, Jack Cunningham, says the beef-on-the-bone ban is not a permanent measure, and will be lifted as soon as he is given the medical all-clear.
Addressing a demonstration at the informal EU council meeting in Newcastle, he rebuffed claims that the ban was a farce.
"Twenty four people have died of new variant CJD, that is a very serious state of affairs," he said.
And he dismissed suggestions it had damaged the trade. "Only 3% of beef was sold on the bone. The idea that you have been hurt, or butchers have been damaged by the ban is a nonsense," he told the farmers.
"But it was not a decision I wanted to take," he added. "As soon as I can get the medical all clear, the ban will be lifted."