Brussels beef boffins near to decision

29 October 1999

Brussels beef boffins near to decision

SCIENTISTS considering whether there is any substance to French claims that British beef is unsafe are reported to be close to a decision.

After three hours of talks, the European Commission scientific steering committee, is said to have agreed on a text, reports the London Evening Standard.

The 16-strong group is said to be trying to agree by consensus rather than a damaging split vote.

“There is a prepared text which they are discussing. They have discussed all three questions which the Commission raised,” said a EC spokeswoman.

However, she did not exclude a divided outcome.

It is thought that as a form of words was in place, this was a sign that a clear, if not unanimous, decision was the most likely outcome later today (Friday).

A simple majority would be required to settle the fate of British beef. But failure to reach a unanimous verdict would be a heavy setback for Britain.

A three-and-a-half-year EU ban on British beef was lifted in August. France has continued a unilateral ban as it questions British BSE figures.

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