France bans T-bone steak in BSE emergency

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The Independent Online

Amid spiralling fears about mad cow disease, France's government announced yesterday that it was banning beef on the bone, including T-bone steak - the second speciality to be cut from menus in a week.

Amid spiralling fears about mad cow disease, France's government announced yesterday that it was banning beef on the bone, including T-bone steak - the second speciality to be cut from menus in a week.

Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said the government was also temporarily banningall livestock feed containing meat to prevent the spread of the disease.

Fears about the animal disease and its health risks to humans have surged recently in France since an announcement that potentially infected meat had made it to supermarket shelves before being hastily withdrawn. After the announcement, many French school districts banned beef in cafeterias, and more people have been eating chicken and fish.

Mr Jospin said the T-bonewould be banned immediately. Other new measures includebanning cow vertebrae and a review of abattoir practices to reduce any chance of banned animal parts getting into meat. On Friday, France bannedsweetbreads, a delicacy made from a cow's thymus gland.

Concern about French cows has spread to Italy, where the Agriculture Minister threatened to halt most beef imports from France if the European Union failed to block exports. Some Italian cities also began taking beef off school menus as a precaution.

BSE is believed to be linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Two deaths from the disease are known in France, compared with more than 80 in Britain, where mad cow disease peaked several years ago. (AP)

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