Agriculture Minister, Nick Brown said:
"This is good news for sheep meat exporters - it will allow them to compete on level terms again by supplying the important French market. The government has worked hard to reach agreement with the French authorities and has succeeded in establishing conditions of trade which will allow carcases to go to the cutting plants in France which supply the important retail outlets for sheep meat. I am confident that the new rules and the quality of sheep meat produced in this country will enable British lamb to compete fairly and successfully in the market place."
There are also important provisions in the regulations to ensure that exported carcases do not end up back on the UK market. All carcases destined for France will be stamped at the abattoir prior to export as proof of origin and to show that they contain spinal cord. Also, vehicles carrying the sheep carcases will be sealed and required to go directly to the approved premises in France for delivery.
A list of all the approved premises in France will be on our website at: "http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/whats-new.html".
This follows a public consultation on proposals which were announced by the former Agriculture Minister, Jack Cunningham on 21 May 1998 in the House of Commons.
The Specified Risk Material (Amendment) Regulations 1998 will come into force on 19 October 1998. The Government's proposals were the subject of a statutory consultation exercise which ended on 3 July 1998. The Specified Risk Material Regulations 1997 currently require all carcases of sheep more than 12 months of age, or with one or more permanent incisor teeth erupted, to be split in authorised premises in the UK and the spinal cord removed.