29 July 1997
Egypt and Saudi ban beef from rogue processors
THE two Belgian meat processors allegedly involved in the illegal export of British beef have been black-balled by Egyptian and Saudi Arabian authorities.
Both governments have warned local traders not to deal with the Belgian companies, Gaston Lefevre and NV Tragex.
At the same time, Egypt has also banned meat supplies from Socopa Agritrade, Frances leading exporter of frozen meat, for delivering products which were not fit for human consumption.
Earlier this month, the European Commission revealed that 1,600 tonnes of British beef had been exported to the Netherlands, where it was sold to a number of non-EU countries, including Egypt.
The British labels had been removed from the consignments and replaced with false labels and documentation. However, those involved in the scam were only remotely successful, with the bulk of the meat recovered before it reached consumers.
The UK has since closed two processing companies because of their alleged involvement in the illegal scam, and the EU is considering legal action against the UK over its failure to detect the meat exports.
A worldwide ban was placed on British beef in March 1996 after the government announced that there was a possible link between “mad cow disease (BSE) and the fatal Creutzfeld-Jakob brain disease in humans.