On March 27,1996, the EU imposed a ban on exports from the UK of beef, live bovine animals, semen, embryos, and bovine products (including MBM) that might enter the human or animal food chains or be used in pharmaceuticals or cosmetics. In December of 1996, the UK published the Export Certified Herds Scheme (ECHS) to enable documentation that an animal was from a BSE-free herd. In March of 1998, EU farm ministers approved the ECHS, permitting legal exports of beef from Northern Ireland from June 1, 1998. The European Commission then proposed to lift the export ban for the rest of the UK, as applied to animals born after August 1, 1996 (the date the MBM ban became fully effective).
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