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Last Updated: Monday, 24 April 2006, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
British beef prices 'to increase'
The export ban was brought in 10 years ago
Shoppers are likely to see the price of British beef rise by about 20% after exports to Europe resume on May 3, a trade body has said.

Demand from the Continent will drive up wholesale prices to bring them in line with other European producers, the National Beef Association (NBA) said.

The increase is expected to be passed on by supermarkets, it added.

The worldwide ban introduced by the EU in 1996 to prevent the spread of mad cow disease was lifted in March.

The NBA said the wholesale price of prime British beef was currently about 2 per kg (2.2lbs) compared with 2.31 for prime French beef and 2.35 for Spanish and Portuguese varieties.

Food fair

The association said it expected lower prices to drive up demand for British beef after the ban comes to an end.

The price will have to rise on the shop shelf or the supermarkets will have to cut their margin which they don't like doing
Duff Burrell, NBA chairman

"The supermarkets won't take a loss on that product for very long," said NBA chairman Duff Burrell.

"The price will have to rise on the shop shelf or the supermarkets will have to cut their margin, which they don't like doing."

The National Farmers' Union has said the ban has cost its members trade worth 675m a year.

The lifting of the ban means live animals born after 1 August, 1996, and beef and beef products from cattle slaughtered after 15 June 2005 will now be able to be exported.

Exports of boneless British beef products from animals aged between six months and 30 months were allowed to recommence in 1999.

But the US and Australia are among countries which still ban British beef products.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said Agriculture Minister Lord Bach would be promoting British beef at a food fair in Parma, Italy, the day after the export ban is lifted.

Finnie welcomes end of beef ban
08 Mar 06 |  Scotland

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