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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 October 2006, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Curd ban dairy fights EU decision
Curd cheese
The row centred on methods of making curd cheese
A dairy forced to shut after the European Union banned it from selling its curd cheese in Europe is to fight the decision in European courts.

The EU banned Bowland Dairy in Nelson, Lancashire, from producing curd cheese from 6 October.

The firm was accused of breaching EU food safety laws by using "floor waste" and mouldy cheese to make its curd.

The firm said it complied with rules set by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), but the EU overruled them.

'Political decision'

The company said it no longer used "floor waste" - cheese which falls off factory conveyor belts into stainless steel vats - after consultation with the FSA.

But it said new government rules were announced that meant it would be forced to dump two million litres of milk a week in landfill sites.

Bowland Dairy's director John Wright attacked the government for making a "political" decision.

"It's sad that the government hasn't backed the Food Standards Agency," he said.

"It's a political decision not backed by science or the law.

"It means that businesses face arbitrary closure by the European Commission.

Safety rules

"We have won once in the courts and we will take the case forward again to the European Courts."

The company said it was complying with the FSA's interpretation of EU food safety rules but claimed a random inspection by EU staff - following different procedures - led to the closure.

The EU said the company's monitoring of antibiotics in milk used to make the curd cheese did not meet its requirements.

A spokesman for the FSA said it accepted the revised rules.

Random checks

"We are falling into line with the way the rules are being applied," he said.

"We have written to enforcement agencies to make sure they know what the new provisions are."

Bowland Dairy has won one legal case against Brussels over the testing of milk containing residues of antibiotics.

The European Commission ordered the EU to withdraw a Rapid Alert Notice stating the produce was unsafe.

But on 6 October the commission announced it was banning Bowland's curd cheese.

It also said that commission inspectors will spend five days next month on random checks in England, inspecting seven to 10 dairies.

Curd ban dairy calls in receivers
11 Oct 06 |  Lancashire
Dairy's curd banned from Europe
06 Oct 06 |  Lancashire

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