China bans British beef import of cattle under 30 months over mad cow disease

China banned British beef imports of cattle under 30 months of age after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or “mad cow” disease in the UK last month.

The ban took effect from 29 September, according to a statement from the General Administration of Customs.

China is yet to restart buying beef from the UK after agreeing in 2018 to lift previous restrictions.

Beijing imposed a ban in the 1990s during earlier outbreaks of BSE.

In September, the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) said a case of BSE had been confirmed on a farm in Somerset.

In 2018, China ended a two-decades-long ban on imports of beef from the UK, which as first introduced after the outbreak of BSE in the 1990s.

At the time, the UK government said the lifting of the ban would be worth £250 million to British producers over the next five years.

It came after years of site inspections and negotiations between officials in London and Beijing.

In September this year, it was announced that the US was lifting its decades-old ban on imports of British lamb.

The US had stopped British lamb imports since 1989, following the first outbreaks of BSE.

The previous year British beef exports to the US resumed for the first time in more than 20 years.

British beef was banned by Washington after the BSE outbreak in 1996.