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Nicola Carslaw reports for BBC News
"The ban was deeply unpopular"
 real 28k

Friday, 17 December, 1999, 02:08 GMT
Beef on bone ban lifted

Beef on the bone: Back in time for Christmas


The government's controversial ban on selling beef-on-the-bone has been officially lifted.

Shops and supermarkets can now legally sell T-bone steaks, ribs and oxtail - two years and a day after beef on the bone was banned, because of fears over " mad cow disease".

The ban officially ended at midnight on Thursday, although some shops and restaurants started selling beef on the bone again as soon as Agriculture Minister Nick Brown announced that it would be lifted last month.


The ban is said to have cost the industry 170m.
Others had been flouting the ban for even longer - running the risk of prosecution.

And supermarkets say demand for beef-on-the-bone is now outstripping supply.

The Tesco supermarket chain, which put boned beef back on its shelves on 4 December, predicts it will have sold 250,000-worth by the New Year.

Safeway, meanwhile, starting selling beef on the bone at its store in Camden, London, on 1 December and in all its stores on 4 December.

Asda received a special delivery of prime ribs, T-bone steaks, and select T-bone cuts at midnight on Thursday.

A spokesman for the National Federation of Meat Traders said it had advised all its members to obey the ban - but admitted many independent butchers had chosen to break it and stocked beef on the bone during the two years and since Mr Brown's announcement.

But he said the federation welcomed the lifting of the ban in time for Christmas.

The ban on the sale of beef on the bone was introduced by Jack Cunningham, then Minister of Agriculture, in December 1997.

There was much protest from people working in the food industry, and even the government's independent Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee said the chances of contracting BSE from beef on the bone was lower then being struck by lightning.

Celebration

The ban was blamed for refuelling fears about the safety of British beef and is said to have cost the industry 170m.

Mr Brown will personally celebrate the lifting of the beef-on-the-bone ban on Monday by attending a carvery at the House of Commons.

The carving will be hosted by the House of Commons Catering Committee chairman Dennis Turner MP.

He said: "We are really looking forward to welcoming Nick Brown and other colleagues to taste delicious traditional roast rib or beef and T-bone steaks.

"They are being supplied from a farm in Aberdeenshire and the event marks an excellent start to Christmas week."

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See also:
07 Dec 99 |  UK
Celebrations as beef bone case dropped
30 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Beef on bone back by Christmas
30 Nov 99 |  UK
Beef on the bone - a ban too far?
10 Oct 99 |  UK
T-bone steak for Christmas?
05 Oct 99 |  Scotland
Medical chief explains beef-on-bone stance
21 Sep 99 |  UK
Beef-on-bone risk 'tiny'

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