The Russian agricultural ministry has announced that it has lifted a ban on importing boneless beef from five Irish counties that was put in place several years ago after a Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak. Although Russia allows imports of boneless beef from the European Union, a ban on boneless beef from the UK, Portugal and Switzerland still exists. The ban on Irish beef imports was lifted after Russia was satisfied by the controls carried out by Irish veterinarians, but it still plans to prevent another outbreak of BSE by maintaining strict controls over its imports.