Agriculture minister Nick Brown defied EU law last night by announcing that he was happy to implement a ban on French beef at the end of this week, if concerns over the safety of the meat increase following the Food Standards Authority's (FSA) visit to France. Officials from the FSA, which is headed up by Sir John Krebs, are travelling to France on Wednesday to discuss the safety of the beef and seek assurances that adequate precautionary measures are in place, before making recommendations to the British government on their return.