Last reviewed: 05 April 2002
On 27 March 1996 the European Commission introduced a ban on the export from the UK of bovine animals, semen and embryos, beef or beef products and mammalian meat and bonemeal.
On 24 May 1996, the UK applied to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to have the export ban overturned. The oral hearing was on 02 July 1997. On 05 May 1998 the ECJ upheld the validity of the export ban. However, following the Advocate Generals Opinion of 30 September 1997 that the ban was lawful and justified the Government has been concentrating its efforts to lift the ban through negotiation and agreement with our EU partners.
On 11 June 1996 the Commission lifted the ban on exports of bovine semen and at the European Heads of Government meeting in Florence on 21 June 1996 agreement was reached on a framework for the progressive removal of the rest of the ban..
Subsequently, on 14 July 1999 the Commission announced that the export of deboned UK beef and beef products produced under the Date Based Export Scheme (DBES) could start on 01 August 1999. The Government is working with the industries concerned to meet the conditions under which exports of tallow and certain other products may resume.