The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) said today (Friday) its restrictions on British meat exports would not be lifted until the world animal health organisation, OIE, verifies that the UK is FMD free.

Australia’s decision comes despite an agreement by the European Union to lift all restrictions on the export of British meat following Tuesday’s official declaration by the UK’s Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that the country is now free of the disease.

Moreover, once the OIE has given the all-clear, the Australian authority said it would only allow dairy products into the country.

Carston Creagh of the AQIS said: “We do expect that over coming months there’ll be some extra product returning to the Australian market but again it will be subject to very rigorous restrictions, such as treatment times for dairy products, for example, and sourcing from disease-free herds, disease-free animals.”

UK exporters will be unsurprised at importing countries’ initial reluctance to accept their meat, as they have already become accustomed to fighting this battle following the outbreak of BSE.