28 July 1999
EBL-free status for UK beef
By Philip Clarke
BEEF exporters will have one less thing to worry about when their trade resumes next month, after Brussels granted the UK Enzootic Bovine Leukosis-free status.
EBL is caused by a virus which attacks the lymphatic system and, in the past, exports were only allowed if the animal or carcass came from an EBL-free herd.
Since the UK has not had a case of EBL since December 1996, and following a change in EU rules, the whole country is now considered to be free of the disease.
“This is good news for farmers and will reduce bureaucracy,” said junior agriculture minister Jeff Rooker.
“We will, of course, maintain controls on cattle imports.”
The granting of EBL-free status also calls into question the future relevance of the Cattle Health Scheme, which has mainly dealt with tracking the disease.
“This may no longer be needed and we will be writing to the industry shortly to consult them on the schemes future,” said Mr Rooker.