British beef back on the menu

After ten years, the ban on exporting UK beef has been lifted, with chefs from the region offering a mixed reaction to the news

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By  Laura Barnes Published  April 1, 2006

The global ban on British beef export has been removed, 10 years after it was introduced to prevent the spread of mad cow disease. Mad cow disease, otherwise known as BSE, predominantly affected cattle with millions of animals destroyed in the 1990s. Reaction on the lifting of the ban among those in the catering industry has been largely positive. “It is interesting news. I wonder if this means that the entire ban on European veal and beef will be lifted, as this has gone on for a long time. Since then, there has definitely been a lack in good veal products,” commented Marco Aveta, executive chef at Radisson SAS Hotel, Dubai Media City. “Regarding British beef, I think it will be a very important addition to a market that has been dominated by Australian and American beef,” he added. President of the National Farmers Union, Peter Kendall, also welcomed the move. “This decision should create competition in the domestic market and provide access to potentially lucrative continental buyers.” The ban was lifted after a unanimous resolution was made by the European Union’s vets’ committee. However, the only beef currently eligible is UK boneless beef under the conditions of the Date Based Export Scheme. EU Commissioner for health and consumer protection, Markos Kypriano, said it was time to acknowledge the great strides the UK had made to meet stringent monitoring and control criteria. “Precautionary measures, including the embargo on UK beef exports, was taken when it was deemed necessary to fully protect consumers,” commented Kypriano. However, although the ban has been lifted, there are still some concerns that not everybody will be confident enough to eat British beef. “It will take a while to convince people to switch back from an Australian or American product they are comfortable using, and have been doing so over the past few years. However, it will just take time,” said Wolfgang Eberle, executive chef, Dusit Dubai.

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