The NFU yesterday demanded that the European Commission stops all German beef exports in light of a catalogue of incidents involving meat containing banned material.

On Friday the NFU obtained the agreement of the EU's Food Safety Commissioner David Byrne that he would force the closure of the abattoirs in Germany responsible for suspect exports.

The same day, however, a further consignment of beef containing Specified Risk Material (SRM) - which must be removed in line with EU-wide BSE control measures introduced in October 2000 - was found in Britain.

NFU President Ben Gill, who spoke to Commissioner Byrne this morning on the issue, said: "It is only thanks to the vigilance of the British Food Standards Agency that these problems have even been uncovered.

"We cannot continue accepting beef simply on trust when the track record of
certain countries have proved so appalling.

"It is unfair on this country's beef farmers who have met every requirement to ensure the safety of British beef and it is unfair to expose the British consumer to risk.

"The UK is currently having to import more beef due to foot and mouth. Consumers should not have to feel they are being forced to accept beef of uncertain quality and safety."

The NFU is also calling on Commissioner Byrne to close a Dutch abattoir found this morning to be responsible for a second consignment in four days of meat coming into Britain containing SRM. It was detected at an abattoir in Blackpool.

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this document, the NFU cannot accept liability for errors and omissions.  This information should not be regarded as constituting legal advice, and should therefore not be relied upon as such.  NFU©

just-food.com published a feature on foot and mouth. To read it, click here.