06 May 1998
NI plant approvals lift beef export hopes
AN abattoir and a meat-cutting plant in Northern Ireland have been given a clean bill of health by European Commission veterinary inspectors.
The move could mean that the two plants could be exporting beef later this month – paving the way for the first exports of UK beef for more than two years.
This latest development came yesterday (Tuesday) as the European Court of Justice upheld the Commissions right to ban British beef exports. This confirmed an opinion given back in September by the Courts advocate-general that the EC was within its right to impose a worldwide ban on British beef in March 1996 in a bid to curtail the spread of BSE.
The National Farmers Union said it was disappointed by the European Courts ruling upholding the ban, but pledged to work to ensure the ban was soon lifted. The UK Government and the NFU had expected the judgment.
The Northern Ireland scheme, known as the certified herd scheme, won backing from EU nations last month. Northern Ireland has been given permission to start exporting beef earlier than the rest of the UK because it has a computerised system capable of tracking the history of cattle. It also has a low incidence of BSE.
Commission officials now believe that exports could begin from the two plants later this month following the favourable health reports from EC vets.
- Financial Times 06/05/98 page 10
- The Scotsman 06/05/98 page 4, page 31
- The Independent 06/05/98 page 4
- The Guardian 06/05/98 page 9