UK Beef Embargo

In 1999, the ban was to be amended to allow de-boned beef and beef products from the UK produced under the Date-based Export Scheme (DBES) to be exported.

Brussels, 08 March 2006

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health adopted unanimously a favourable opinion on a European Commission proposal to lift the embargo on UK exports of live cattle, beef and beef products.. The proposal is now expected to be adopted by the Commission in about 6 weeks time, as the European Parliament has a one month right of scrutiny. The ban on the export of UK beef was issued in March 1996 (with certain derogations introduced in 1999), due to the high incidence of BSE cases in the UK at the time. The proposal was made on the basis that the UK has fulfilled the conditions laid down by the Commission in its TSE Road Map (adopted in July 2005) in order for the ban to be lifted. These were to have an incidence of BSE below a certain level and to demonstrate that the BSE controls laid down in EU legislation were being fully and properly applied. Once the proposal is adopted and published in the Official Journal, the UK will be able to export live cattle born after 1 August 1996, and bovine meat and products produced after 15 June 2005, under the same terms as other Member States.

Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said “The Commission has taken no chances when it has come to dealing with BSE, and the most stringent monitoring and control measures have been applied. Precautionary measures, including the embargo on UK beef exports, were taken when deemed necessary to fully protect consumers. However, the UK has made great strides in tackling this disease, and has met all of the criteria that were set for the lifting of the beef export ban, in line with scientific and veterinary advice. We must now acknowledge this and resume normal trade in this area.”