The ten-year-long export ban on British beef has been lifted today (3 May) in what the National Farmers' Union (NFU) has described as a 'red letter day' for the UK's beef industry.

Before the beef ban was introduced in response to the 1996 BSE crisis the trade was worth in excess of GBP600m (US$1.1bn) and, the industry hopes, it won't be long before European consumers are dining on beef from the UK once more.

"The lifting of the British beef ban is fantastic news for farmers and the UK economy. What this means is we can now take full advantage of the huge investment the British beef industry has made in quality assurance and which gives our beef a real edge over the competition," NFU president Peter Kendall said.

"For the first time in ten years beef farmers are free to trade on a market outside the UK. I would urge consumers to continue their support of British beef to re-establish its place as the best in the world."