The European Commission has put forward a further package of protection measures against bovine spongiform encephalopathy in beef. The commission said it will advise on the removal of the vertebral column in cattle over one year old and place a ban on mechanically recovered meat from ruminants. In addition, it proposes pressure-cooking of rendered animal fats.

The proposals are to be discussed by the EU’s standing veterinary committee on Wednesday with the aim to make the measure effective from March 31. Sweden, Finland and Austria may be exempted from the requirement as they are considered to be countries where BSE is unlikely. They are already exempt from the requirement to test all bovines over 30 months for BSE.

Britain and Portugal will also be exempt from the new measures as extra safety controls have already been introduced on beef production,