LETTERS: Unfair trade war against the UK

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The Independent Online
Sir: Much of the confusion about the Government's stance on acceptance of British bovine materials appears to stem from a belief that it is just about beef, ie meat. In fact, the blanket ban by the EU was a hastily- enacted political move that has backfired as far as confidence in beef is concerned (leading article; "Major's EU work-to-rule puts us all in peril", 22 May).

The real point at stake is that the ban is on beef and bovine derivatives. The immediate effect of this was that the export sales of all UK-origin edible meat and dairy products, edible, medical and cosmetic gelatine and collagen-containing materials, edible and industrial chemicals derived from milk and fat such as stearates, lactic acid and others, and semen and ova - all materials never shown to be capable of transmitting the scrapie or BSE agents - were absolutely and totally banned.

It is ridiculous that medical, chemical and cosmetic exports have been caught up in the same net as beef meat. The overall effect amounts to an unfair and perhaps illegal trade war against the UK.

This is not the first time that the EU has imposed bans on products in a way that displays a breath-taking ignorance of practicalities and a total failure to put risks into context. It is important to show the Commission and Council of Ministers that knee-jerk reactions have effects far beyond their apparent intent, and that these effects cannot and should not be tolerated.

MEREDITH LLOYD EVANS

Principal Consultant

BioBridge UK

Cambridge

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