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Europeans Welcome End to 'Unjustified' Beef Ban

07 November 2013

US trading relations are to benefit from the decision to lift the unjustified EU beef ban, according to a European Commission announcement this week.

The change comes 15 years after the initial ban in 1998 which was enacted amid bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) fears and eight years after the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) established that EU beef was safe in 2005.

This will align US import conditions with international standards, explained the EU Commission, which welcomed the, ‘albeit late, step to abolish the unjustified ban and to re-establish normal trading conditions.’

Responsibility now rests on the farm and food sectors to capitalize on the achievement following the delivery of what the Commission called a ‘high level of food security’ both in the EU and abroad.

The farm sector in the US has welcomed the announcement, commending the effort to review old regulations and base import laws on science.

“The basis of these import regulations, set on internationally-accepted science and the OIE guidelines, is critical in showing that the US is committed to ensuring trade,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President, Scott George.

He added the move shows the value the US government places on fair trade and that this move could boost the country’s trading profile and have a knock-on-effect for US beef farmers.

“This is great news for the US cattle industry and integral to our efforts to further international trade,” said Mr George. “With these import regulations set, I am confident we will be able to expand our market access and meet international demand for high quality US beef.”

He stated he was pleased with the involvement of his association in following BSE since 2003, the year Japan banned US beef over the same disease fears.

This later banning was resolved earlier this year with the relaxation of maximum cattle age from twenty months to thirty months, resulting in 95 per cent of US slaughtered cattle becoming eligible overnight.

The initial reaction to the US BSE case was a blanket ban on all products, which was then updated in 2006 to allow younger animals to be imported.

This allowed the Japanese market to develop into US beef’s second destination in value (around $1 billion) and third in terms of volume (143,900 metric tons).

Speaking after the ban was lifted, US Meat Export Federation analysts predicted 2013 value and volume would lift to $1.5 billion and 225,000 metric tons respectively.

Michael Priestley

Michael Priestley
News Team - Editor

Mainly production and market stories on ruminants sector. Works closely with sustainability consultants at FAI Farms


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