France moved one step closer to lifting its ban on British beef, after the AFSSA food safety agency said that the safety of meat guaranteed in France would not be endangered by a decision to end the six-year ban. The embargo on British beef was put in place by all EU nations in March 1996 amid fears that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) would spread to the rest of Europe if left un-checked. BSE, commonly know as mad cow disease, has been linked to the fatal human variant Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (vCJD), which has killed more than one hundred people in Britain so far.