25 August 1999
Brussels guests sit down to British beef
By FWi staff
A DELEGATION of specially invited guests has arrived in Brussels to celebrate the end of the British beef export ban at a celebratory steak lunch.
The lunch, organised by the British Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC), is the first time British beef has been eaten abroad for more than three years.
Until the beginning of this month, British beef exports had been banned by the European Union (EU) since the height of the BSE crisis in March 1996.
But the ban was lifted on 1 August and the first consignment of almost 50kg of fillet steak has now arrived in Belgium from the St Merryn Meat factory in Cornwall.
It will form the centrepiece of todays meal, which includes a first course of steak tartare followed by a main filet de boeuf de Cornouailles at the prestigious Hotel Metropole.
MLC chairman Don Curry and British junior agriculture minister Joyce Quin will sit down to eat with representatives from two Belgian meat importers.
Farmers Weekly reporter Isabel Davies is also among the guests, which include journalists from other European countries and EU officials.
MLC officials hope the high-profile lunch will encourage orders for British beef and help kick-start a trade once worth £520 million a year.