British beef is still banned in 84 countries following the BSE crisis of the 1990s, according to a government minister quoted by the BBC.

Junior environment, food and rural affairs minister Ben Bradshaw gave the figure in response to a parliamentary question. He said the restrictions were unjustified "in the light of science and the BSE controls by the UK." Ministers were working with the European Commission to downgrade the UK to a 'moderate' risk rating.

Britain is currently rated as a high risk country for the transmission of BSE, the BBC said. Bradshaw said countries still banning British beef imports included India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Japan, the United States and Switzerland.