EUs millions prop up French beef

16 November 2000

EU’s millions prop up French beef

By FWi staff

THE EU is to spend up to 36 million propping up the French beef market in the wake of public panic over BSE, reports the Financial Times.

The European Commission approved farm commissioner Franz Fischlers proposal for a six-month scheme to subsidise private storage of beef.

A spokesman said this was to forestall big price falls, a bigger impact on the market and a bigger drain on the EU budget through the possibility of intervention buying.

Meanwhile, consumer affairs commissioner David Byrne has signalled strong doubts about an EU-wide ban on feeding meat and bonemeal to all animals.

French prime minister Lionel Jospin this week introduced a ban on MBM in a bid to reassure the public.

Beef sales in France have halved and school meal services have withdrawn the suspect meat since it emerged that beef from infected herds had entered the food chain.

Mr Byrne said such a ban would not be a “magic solution” to eliminating risk and restoring public confidence.

The Commission has also pledged to present proposals to veterinary experts this week for a big increase in testing cattle for BSE.

Meanwhile, a scientist advising the UK Government believes people could take 40 years to develop the human form of BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Professor John Collinge of St Marys Hospital in London told New Scientist magazine there could be cases of BSE well into the second half of the century.

The finding is based on studies of cannibal tribes on Papua New Guinea, who used to eat the brains of deceased relatives as a mark of respect.

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