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Friday, 5 December, 1997, 20:21 GMT
Ireland acts on new beef bone fears

The Irish government has called for beef on the bone to be withdrawn from sale two days after Britain said it was banning it because of new evidence it could cause the human form of mad cow disease.

The Irish health minister, Brian Cowen, said that although the risk to consumers was very low, butchers should remove the backbone before putting beef on sale.

The Irish move falls short of the British government's ban which has provoked violent protests by farmers who have tried to stop imports of foreign beef.

The prime minister, Tony Blair, has told farmers he understands their difficulties but the rule of law must be upheld.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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