In a statement by EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan.
It welcomed the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement that the US will progressively re-open its market to exports of beef from Ireland.
Both Commissioners said the re-opening of the market is a welcome first step to abolish the disproportionate and unjustified US ban that followed the BSE crisis of the 1990s, and to re-establish normal trading conditions.
“This announcement sends an important and positive signal to the other EU Member States who have requested the US to re-establish access to the US beef market. It is now desirable that the US acts expeditiously to extend the approval to the rest of the European Union and to fully bring their import conditions in line with international standards,” they said.
The Commissioners also welcome that this move, which forms part of a growing trend, recognises 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,” they said.
The US market has been closed to any EU beef, including deboned beef, since January 1998, when the US introduced import restrictions on beef, sheep and goats (ruminant animals) and their products on the basis of BSE concerns.
These measures went beyond the standards of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) according to which, for example, deboned skeletal muscle beef is safe and can be freely traded from all countries, regardless of their BSE status.