Food Law News - UK - 1998
29 April 1998: BEEF - Export Rules Tightened For Non-UK Beef
MAFF News Release (168/98), 29 April 1998
Export Rules Tightened For Non-UK Beef
New UK regulations are to ensure Britain meets European requirements for tighter controls on permitted exports of products made from imported non-UK beef, while allowing a resumption of beef exports from approved herds in Northern Ireland.
The Bovines and Bovine Products (Trade) Regulations 1998, placed before Parliament today, will tighten controls on the export from the UK of beef and beef products made with imported beef. The regulations come into force on 1 May 1998.
Food Safety Minister Jeff Rooker said:
"The European decision to lift the ban on exports of beef from Certified Northern Irish herds was a significant step for the UK. These new regulations will reassure our European partners that we are taking strict action to ensure that only approved beef and beef products will be allowed for export. In the meantime, the UK is pressing hard to put in place a Date Based Export Scheme that would allow the export of beef from all UK animals born after 1 August 1996."
The Government's action today follows European Council Decision 98/256/EC on 16 March 1998, allowing a resumption of exports of Northern Irish beef from Export Certified Herds. The EC decision:
- restated the export prohibition on live bovine animals, bovine embryos and mammalian meat and bone meal (MMBM) (with an exemption for MMBM where it is used in pet food);
- allowed the export of Northern Irish beef from animals certified under the Export Certified Herds Scheme;
- amended existing controls on bovine by-products; and
- tightened controls on permitted exports of beef and beef products using non-UK beef (under the XAP export approval system).
Currently, tallow and certain other beef by-products derived from UK bovines can only be exported for technical use. However, export for other uses will be allowed from a date to be set by the European Commission's Standing Veterinary Committee following the satisfactory inspection of UK controls.
Establishments approved to handle and process non-UK sourced beef will need to re-apply for approval under the new regulations. All establishments on separate sites must apply for approval, even if linked in a production chain. Approved establishments must have:
- a system of tracing raw material which will guarantee the origin of beef and bovine material throughout the whole production chain;
- a registration system recording the amounts of incoming and outgoing material to allow the cross-checking of consignments entering or leaving the establishment; and
- procedures to ensure that products are unloaded, processed, stored, handled, loaded and transported separately from, or at different times from non-XAP bovine products.
The following additional notes are provided:
- Any importers, producers and exporters in doubt as to whether or not the products they produce for export are covered by the new Regulations should contact their Local Animal Health Divisional Office immediately.
- Application forms for approval and explanatory literature are available from Animal Health Divisional Offices, or, from the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) Room 108, Government Buildings, Toby Jug Site, Hook Rise South, Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 7NF or telephone 0181 330 8362 or fax: 0181 330 1412.
- Council Decision 98/256/EC amends Decision 94/474 and replaces Decision 96/239/EC, as amended. The Council Decision also introduces provisions for exports of beef from Northern Ireland derived from eligible Export Certified Herds Scheme (ECHS) animals. Parallel Regulations for Northern Ireland - which also cover the ECHS element of the Decision - have been announced today.
- The Bovines and Bovine Products (Trade) Regulations 1998 revoke and replace the Bovines and Bovine Products (Despatch Prohibition and Production Restriction) Regulations 1997.
- The Export Certified Herds Scheme will allow the export of deboned beef from animals aged between 6-30 months, whose records and movements are all held on a computer database and whose dams have not developed BSE and have survived six months after the animal's birth. The animals may only come from herds which are certified as having had no cases of BSE in animals in or from those herds for at least eight years. The slaughter of ECHS animals will take place in dedicated abattoirs. Meat processing and product preparation will only take place in plants dedicated to producing export material. All plants involved in the production chain will be under rigorous supervision.
- The UK has already submitted a formal proposal to the Commission for a Date Based Export Scheme. This scheme would permit the export of deboned beef from cattle born after 1 August 1996, the date from which the risk of infection from contaminated feed is considered to be remote. It would apply to the whole of the UK.
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