All beef products being exported from Australia could be labelled BSE-free if the Federal Agriculture Minister responds positively to a letter received from a prominent agricultural group.

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is lobbying for the “BSE free” tag on exports, arguing that it will bolster consumer confidence in beef safety at a time when mad cow disease outbreaks have been discovered across Europe and Japan.

Ailsa Fox, the Chair of the VFF’s cattle committee, told ABC Rural News: “We’ve got to remember that we do export most of our beef, or 70% of our beef product and we’ve got to be continually aware of what our competitors are doing and what our customers require.

“I think what’s happened in the world where BSE has been identified, clearly shows that customers want BSE freedom in the animal, in the beef they’re consuming.”

The US made a similar decision recently to label all of its beef intended for export to the Japanese market “BSE free”.