French officials to learn US food safety rules

25th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

GENEVA, June 24 (AFP) - French civil servants are to take part in a seminar organised by the United States to train European officials about US food safety norms, following a ban on imports of French goose liver pate and cold cuts, the WTO said Thursday.

GENEVA, June 24 (AFP) - French civil servants are to take part in a seminar organised by the United States to train European officials about US food safety norms, following a ban on imports of French goose liver pate and cold cuts, the WTO said Thursday.

"Two senior French officials will participate in a seminar, along with officials from several other EU countries, on the techniques that the US requires for controlling abattoirs", US delegates to the World Trade Organisation were quoted as saying by a WTO official.

At a meeting on food safety at the WTO, the US officials said Washington was currently reviewing corrective measures announced by France following Washington's suspension in February of imports of French foie gras and cold cuts after finding fault with French health safety measures.

French Agriculture Minister Herve Gaymard said Tuesday in New York that a solution would soon be found to the dispute.

French foie gras exports to the United States are relatively low, amounting to only 123 tonnes out of total production of 18,000 tonnes, according to the industry. Of the 1.25 million tonnes of French cold cuts, 300 to 500 tonnes are sold in the United States.

The US ban raised transatlantic tensions when it was announced in late February, the same day as the European Union said it was halting imports of poultry and eggs from the United States after an outbreak of highly contagious bird-flu in Texas.

A US Department of Agriculture official denied suggestions that the US action was retaliatory and a spokeswoman for the EU commission in Brussels said the timing of the two announcements appeared to be coincidental.

But some EU observers privately suspected that diplomatic factors might indeed have been involved.

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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