Canada has lifted a 19-year ban on beef imports from the 19 member states of the European Union.

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Canada has lifted a 19-year ban on beef imports from the 19 member states of the European Union.

In 1996, the North American country imposed an import ban following the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, scandal.

The European Commission stated that Canada's move indicates the positive measures the European Union has taken to eradicate mad cow disease.

"We call on our few remaining international trading partners who still maintain restrictive measures, to fully adopt recognised international standards," the Commission stated.

Canada audited meat inspection systems in four EU member states before agreeing to lift the ban.

In January, the world's biggest beef importer, the US, cleared Irish beef for import, lifting a ban it had upheld since 1998.

Ireland has also been successful in gaining access to the Chinese market since February.

Last week, Saudi Arabia lifted a 15-year-old import ban on French beef.

BSE was first detected in the UK in the late 1980's. From Britain, the disease spread to other parts of Europe. The consumption of BSE-infected beef leads to a fatal neurodegenerative disease in humans.

The opening up of the Canadian market will provide cattle farmers and beef processors in the EU some relief, as they have been exploring new markets following a Russian ban on EU food imports.

The EU had also imposed a restriction on Canadian beef due to the use of hormones in raising cattle. However, the two parties have reached a deal on the beef during free trade talks.

In 2000, the EU introduced a law for a stringent testing mechanism, so that sick animals are not allowed to enter the food system.

Read more at Food Processing Technology

While the border has been opened there are still import requirements, Randox Food offers Biochip Array Technology for the detection of drug residues to ensure import/export requirments are met. Find out more.

Gary Smith

Marketing Team

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