Export ban to be lifted

European leaders are to lift the export ban on the British meat industry, imposed following the foot-and-mouth outbreak at the beginning of August.

Restrictions are to be lifted on the dispatch of live animals and meat and meat products from Great Britain, for the whole of the country, with the exception of those coming out of the surveillance zone.

The decision will take affect from 25 August.

Stuart Roberts, director of the British Meat Processors Association, said: "This is very positive news. Of all the various options, this is better than we thought and the industry can now focus on getting back to normality."

A statement from the European Commission said: "The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health today supported unanimously the Commission's draft decision to limit the restrictions on exports of live animals and meat and dairy products, in force until now across Great Britain, to the 10 km surveillance zone in Surrey.

"This means that exports of live animals, meat and dairy products will be able to resume from the territory of Great Britain, apart from the 10km zone in the county of Surrey, when the decision enters into force on 25 August. More than two weeks have elapsed since the second and last reported outbreak of FMD in Surrey, and Member States today expressed their support for the measures taken by the UK, and reinforced by the Commission, to control the recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease.

"In accordance with the new decision approved by the Standing Committee today and to be adopted by the Commission tomorrow, trade in live animals and their products from most of the UK will be possible, subject to strict controls and veterinary supervision, from 25 August.

"The restrictions are applicable until 15 September 2007 and will be reviewed at a further meeting of the Standing Committee foreseen on 11 September 2007."

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