The European Commission has informed the Food Standards Agency that the German authorities have suspended the licences of two abattoirs named by the Agency last Friday (2nd March) for breaching  the EU-wide BSE controls.

David Byrne, EC Commissioner for Health and Consumer Affairs, spoke last night to Sir John Krebs, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, confirming that he had asked the German authorities to either suspend the licences of the plants responsible or put corrective measures in place. Commissioner Byrne acted after the Agency wrote to him and to the German authorities, demanding prompt action to put in place effective BSE controls. He has also written to the Dutch Agriculture Minister regarding two recent breaches of the BSE controls at an abattoir in Leeuwarden, Holland.

Sir John said today: "I am pleased that Commissioner Byrne has taken such decisive steps as a result of the Agency's policy of naming the abattoirs, and demanding swift corrective action. We expect an increase in imports of meat and will continue our 100 per cent inspection of all German beef imported into licenced UK plants."