Minister admits beef ban may last another year

The European ban on British beef might still be in place in a year's time, Jack Cunningham, the Agriculture Minister said yesterday. Dr Cunningham said he could not put a date on when the ban might be lifted but said it was likely that it would be done in a piecemeal way.

The minister, speaking on BBC TV's On The Record, also said there would be a fundamental shake-up at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, but stressed that it would not be abolished altogether. Dr Cunningham said that fixing a date for a lifting of the ban imposed on British beef in the wake of the BSE scare would "not be sensible, it wouldn't be rational".

Asked whether the ban could still be in place a year from now, Dr Cunningham replied: "That is possible. And indeed the idea that the whole of the ban may be lifted in one go is also something we may need to ask questions about."