Canada opens borders for UK beef

The UK and Ireland are among countries that are now able to send beef to Canada, after it opened its borders to EU beef products for the first time in nearly 20 years.

The ban was first implemented in 1996 to prevent the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as ‘mad cow’ disease.

John Sleigh, livestock policy manager for the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland, commented that both the EU and Canada will benefit from the decision.

“We welcome the news that UK farmers can send beef to Canada,” he said. “This is a step in the right direction as the sector looks to boost exports. The door is open, so now the hard work of getting beef across the Pond needs to start.

“We need a strong export strategy to ensure we can compete on the shelves in Canada. Nineteen countries have gained access to the Canadian beef market so there are opportunities to collaborate with using our strong Scotch Beef brand.”

In a statement released by the European Commission, it was highlighted that the EU has demonstrated a strong level of food safety for consumers in the EU and further afield. This is based on international standards and science.

It proceeded to encourage the agriculture and food sectors to capitalise on the achievement, claiming that the reopening of Canada’s borders sends a vital message to the EU’s international traders that EU beef is safe and that global imports should resume operations sooner rather than later.

In a joint statement, the EU’s health and food safety commissioner, trade commissioner and agriculture commissioner said: “By re-authorising 19 Member States at once, Canada recognises that the EU functions as a single entity with uniform and harmonised rules and standards, where enforcement is overseen by the European Commission. This is an important development and will further improve the trade relations with Canada on sanitary and phytosanitary issues.
“This move also forms part of a growing trend to recognise the robust, comprehensive and successful measures put in place by the EU to eradicate BSE. We call on our few remaining international trading partners who still maintain restrictive measures, to fully adopt recognised international standards.”

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