Welcoming the agreement, Food Minister Angela Browning said:
"The Council made significant changes to the Commission's original proposal by removing some of the nonsenses which the UK had criticised. In particular, the new scheme
Operators or organisations in the beef trade will be invited to submit a specification that will establish a link between the beef put up for sale and the animal from which it came. They will be required to indicate the information that will be included on the label, measures to ensure the accuracy of this information, the controls to be applied, and, in the case of an organisation, measures that would be taken in the event that a member of the organisation failed to comply. The label can include information on feeding, fattening, slaughter, maturing, boning and cutting, as well as the origin and sex of the animal.
The proposal as adopted provides for voluntary Schemes on these lines to be superseded by compulsory Schemes with effect from 1 January 2000, but with the proviso that Member States may decide to continue on a voluntary basis after that date in respect of beef sold in the Member State concerned.
The Scheme will be implemented in accordance with detailed rules which will be adopted by the Beef Management Committee in the next few weeks