US denies 'tit-for-tat' ban on French meat

26th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 26 (AFP) - Health checks in France by US officials monitoring food imported into the United States are continuous and have not been done on the spur of the moment, a senior US official said on Thursday.

PARIS, Feb 26 (AFP) - Health checks in France by US officials monitoring food imported into the United States are continuous and have not been done on the spur of the moment, a senior US official said on Thursday.

The comments were in response to suspicions in France that a decision by the United States to ban imports of French cured meats and foie gras goose liver pate had been made on impulse, using health standards as a pretext.

The US decision came shortly after the European Union had decided to ban imports of US poultry because of a case of bird flu in poultry in the United States.

There is a broader background of discontent by the farm sector in France, and notably by wine producers, at stringent US security controls on goods being exported to the United States.

The official, the US under-secretary for agricultural health issues Elsa Murano, told French Radio Classique that the checks which had led to the meat ban were part of a continuous process.

US veterinary services carried out routine checks in France once a year as they did in all countries exporting meat and poultry products to the United States, she said.

The latest controls had been part of that process.

In 2002 the US officials had identified a few suspect cases in French premises which they had visited. In 2003 they carried out further checks. They had found some problems and had asked that these be tackled.

The US authorities had informed French authorities that they would come again in 2004 to carry out stringent checks.

In that process the US officials had found that the necessary measures had not been applied and therefore US authorities had had to take precautionary steps to protect public health while waiting for the necessary measures to be applied, she said.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

0 Comments To This Article