EU officials have warned that France should be wary of trade discrimination charges if it goes ahead with a law requiring the removal of the spinal cord from sheep, lamb and goat carcasses as a precaution against BSE.

The proposed law, which is intended to come into force next year, would require the removal of the spinal cord from the carcasses of sheep, lambs and goats over six months old before they are accepted by France. Current EU law stipulates a spinal cord provision for sheep, lambs and goats over 12 months old.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission told Reuters that France “has to find a way so that it doesn’t affect imports”. The Commission is concerned that the proposed law may result in trade distortion between domestic and imported products on the French livestock market.

Britain and Ireland have also voiced their concerns, warning that the proposed French law could have serious implications for their export trade.