The United States is poised to allow European beef back into its market, the country‘s top agriculture official said Tuesday, 16 years after the meat was banned because of mad cow disease, europeonline-magazine.eu informs.
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said US authorities will inspect beef operations in the Netherlands and Ireland this month and next month to ensure there are no food-safety issues. “We would expect and anticipate if there are no problems with those audits, that very shortly thereafter, those two countries will have access to our markets,” Vilsack said in Brussels after a meeting with EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos.
The two nations are the first to get this far in a process the US has instituted to restore beef trade with the European Union. France, Germany, Italy and Britain are the main producers of beef and veal in the EU, according to the European Commission. The bloc produced about 7.9 million tons of beef in 2011, according to the EU‘s executive.
The US instituted the EU beef ban in 1998 to prevent transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, an illness also known as mad cow disease, which afflicted Britain in the 1980s and 1990s. The US and the EU are currently negotiating a landmark free trade deal. Agriculture and food safety have emerged among the most challenging aspects with consumer groups expressing fears that the pact could water down protection standards.
Romania has all EU instruments to support milk producers
In another context, according to European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Romania has all instruments provided by the European Union, both as regards the system of direct payments and the rural development program, to make sure milk producers can be supported to cope with the removal of milk quotas at EU level as of January 1, 2015, Agerpres informs.
”Besides the normal direct payments, there is the possibility of allocating certain subsidies specific to the milk sector and there are instruments under the rural development program, including the possibility of setting up a subprogram for the milk sector, why not, as far as I know, this matter is under discussion concerning the fruit growing sector, to support financially through investments or other financial means those who really want to keep operating on the market,” Ciolos said.