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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has lifted the ban on import of live cattle and bovine meat from 41 countries, including France, declared ‘negligible risk’ by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said this on Wednesday during a meeting with French Ambassador to Pakistan, Martine Dorance.

He stressed that such imports were subjected to the condition that animals come from herds where no incidence of Bovine Spongiform Encep­halopathy (BSE), commonly known as the mad cow disease, have been reported for the last 11 years.

“France being a negligible risk country is free to export live cattle and meat to Pakistan,” Bosan informed.

He further stated that meat could be exported to Pakistan only after fulfilling health, sanitary and halal certification as per the guidelines and international standards set by the OIE.

Matters of mutual interest including the lifting of ban on import of live cattle and bovine meat from France to Pakistan were discussed. The two sides also discussed joint ventures in farm mechanisation and vaccine development.

Pakistan banned imports of live animals from BSE infected countries since June 2001. Pakistan imports more than 5,000 to 6,000 dairy cows annually and offers equal opportunities to all BSE negligible countries.

France was among the 41 countries from where import of live animals and bovine meat had been banned.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2015