Warning that "beef mountains are building up," the European Commissioner for farm policy, Mr Franz Fischler, today (Monday) announced a package of short-term emergency measures to help EU farmers unable to sell older meat in the open market. Broadly speaking the new scheme provides for the purchase by the Commission of unlimited quantities of beef older than 30 months (OTM) which is free of BSE. However the offer is restricted to countries which can show a full testing capacity of 30-month old animals and to those with a "specific weak market for cow beef," where prices are below a fixed trigger price. Brussels will meet 70% of the purchase costs. The UK will be exempted from the scheme as long as it applies its own OTM destruction scheme. Mr Fischler said Member States were free to store the beef, destroy it, give it away or sell it.