Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Monday, November 23, 1998 Published at 15:57 GMT


BSE Timeline

A timeline of the key dates in the BSE crisis and the efforts made to resume beef exports.

[ image:  ]
April 1988 - Government establishes the Southwood committee to look into BSE. It concludes that BSE had probably been spread in animal feed.

July 1988 - Ban on feed derived from protein introduced.

August 1988 - Decision to slaughter all BSE-affected cattle.

February 1989 - Government bans beef offal from baby foods.

[ image: The slaughter begins]
The slaughter begins
July 1989 - EC bans export of cattle born before July 1988. November 1989 - Ban on use of cows brain and spinal cord for human consumption.

March 1990 - EC restricts exports of cattle to those under six months.

[ image: John Gummer and daughter eat beef burgers]
John Gummer and daughter eat beef burgers
May 1990 - Agriculture Minister John Gummer and his daughter eat beef burgers in front of British press.

September 1990 Ban on using cow brains and spinal cords in Animal feed.

July 1993 - 100,000th case of BSE in Britain.

1995 - First deaths from new variant CJD.

December 1995 - Ban on using mechanically recovered meat for human consumption.

BBC News report 21 March 1996: Scientists announce the link.
21 March 1996 - Government announces suspected link between BSE and human equivalent, CJD.

27 March 1996 - EC announces worldwide export ban on all British beef.

21 May 1996 - UK begins policy of non co-operation with EU partners until ban is lifted.

24 May 1996 - The UK applies to the European Court of Justice to have the ban overturned.

12 June 1996 - UK proposes phased lifting of ban, including exemption of cattle from herds certified as never having had BSE.

BBC News 24 June 1996: The Florence deal is struck
21 June 1996 - European Heads of Government agree to the Florence Framework for the progressive removal of the ban. The Agreement outlined five pre-conditions for the resumption of exports:

  • A selective slaughter programme of "at risk" animals to speed up the eradication of BSE in the UK.
  • Improved systems of animal identification and tracing.
  • Legislation for the removal of meat and bone meal from feed mills and farms.
  • Effective implementation of the Over Thirty Month slaughter scheme.
  • Vigorous and effective removal of specified risk materials from carcasses.
UK drops its policy of disrupting EU business to get the ban lifted.

[ image:  ]
18 July 1996 - The European Parliament sets up a Temporary Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged maladministration in relation to BSE in the EC. It produces a report the following February which was critical of the UK and the Commission in its handling of the BSE crisis.

December 1996 - Britain announces that the backlog of animals waiting to be slaughtered under the Over Thirty Month Scheme is cleared. Proposals for a certified heads scheme are announced. The selective cull of cattle most at risk of BSE is announced which means that the UK has acted on all five pre-conditions of the Florence Agreement.

[ image: Beef consumption takes a massive drop]
Beef consumption takes a massive drop
April 1997 - The European Parliament sets up a new Temporary Committee to monitor the European Commission's follow up actions to the first committee's recommendations. It produces its final report in November 1997.

May 1997 - Government says it may ban imports of beef from Germany and other EU countries which do not observe Britain's strict abattoir hygiene controls.

30 September 1997 - The Advocate General says the EU beef ban was lawful and on 5 May 1998 the ECJ upheld its validity. Although a ruling on the vailidity of the ban was still nine months away, the UK concentrates its efforts on lifting the ban through negotiation and agreement with EU partners.

2 October 1997 - A proposal for a UK Date Based Export Scheme is submitted to the European Commission along with a paper giving the scientific rationale for the proposal. The proposal includes plans for the compulsory slaughter of all offspring born to BSE infected cows on or after 1 August 1996.

[ image: Beef on the bone]
Beef on the bone
9 December 1997 - The UK proposal is considered by Scientific Steering Committee which responds positive but indicated the Commission would need to be satsified with the control mechanisms.

December 1997 - Government announces one-off compensation of £85m to beef farmers.

January 1998 - A £2m marketing campaign is launched to attempt to restore confidence in British beef. The EU makes a financial contribution to the scheme.

February 1998 - Government bans sale of beef on the bone.

[ image:  ]
9 March 1998 - Public inquiry into the origin and spread of BSE and its human equivalent, CJD, opens in London.

16 March 1998 - EU vets approve the removal of the ban on British beef exports from certified heads in Northern Ireland. The decision is later ratified by the EC.

1 June 1998 - Northern Ireland farmers resume exports - the first time UK beef has been sold abroad since March 1996.

[ image: Ireand get the go-ahead, others are still waiting]
Ireand get the go-ahead, others are still waiting
10 June 1998 - The European Commission recommends lifting the export ban on British beef for animals born after August 1996.

28 September 1998 - Although not a pre-requisite of the Florence Agreement, a computerised cattle traceability system is introduced to the UK. It holds details of all cattle registgered or imported into the country.

28 October 1998 - An amended proposal is accepted which was voted on by the Standing Veterinary Committee on 4 November 1998. The proposal was due to be tabled at the November Agricultural Council for discussion and a vote.

23 November 1998- European Union farm ministers lift the 32-month ban on the export of beef from the UK. Resumption of exports is expected in March 1999.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

21 Nov 98†|†UK
Europe set to lift British beef ban

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online