EU scolds France in cheese row
Posted: November 26th, 2010 - 7:26am
Source: Herald Sun
France has been accused of ignoring scientific advice in trade moves to protect prized cheesemakers.
"The European Commission has asked France to withdraw national measures obstructing trade in milk and milk products obtained from sheep and goats," the executive arm for the EU single market of half a billion consumers said in a statement.
"The request takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures," it spelled out, warning that "in the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the commission may decide to refer France to the European Court of Justice".
The argument centres on the presence of scrapie, an incurable disease known to farmers for centuries that affects the nervous system of sheep and goats and is their equivalent of "mad cow disease."
Precautionary measures in were originally introduced during the crisis over BSE in British cattle, but the commission now says dairy products from infected animals do not transmit the illness to humans.