January 18, 2017


US welcomes back French beef after 19 years



The US has lifted a 19-year ban on beef imports from France


The decision was welcomed by the European Commission, which said it represented a new stage in the reopening of a market that had been closed since the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic in the late 1990s.


This lifting of the ban also showed that the European Union's efforts to eradicate BSE (more known as mad cow disease) from its territory have been successful, the EC said in a statement. It followed similar decisions on imports from Ireland, Lithuania and the Netherlands.


"This decision by the US clearly shows what we can achieve through an open, constructive relationship with one of our most important commercial partners", declared Commissioners Cecilia Malmström, responsible for trade; Vytenis Andriukaitis, responsible for health and food safety; and Phil Hogan, responsible for agriculture.


The EC said it would continue to work with all concerned parties to enable all member states to have the same access to the American market, which banned beef from the EU in January 1998, when the US introduced restrictions on the import of bovine, ovine and caprine meat following the BSE epidemic.


The restrictions, the EC said, were "harsher than the recommendations of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)". It maintained that European beef was safe for consumers. -Rick Alberto

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