Producers of native British beef breeds have been given a break by the relaxation of rules on the disposal of specified risk material - mainly the spinal cord.

Since the resumption of beef exports on 3 May, the slower-growing animals have fallen foul of costly EU rules on SRM disposal when they were slaughtered between 24 and 30 months of age.

Norman Bagley of the independent Meat Suppliers' Association said that was cutting prices, discouraging small-scale butchers and retailers from selling meat.

The FSA has teamed up with the MLC to issue new guidance on enforcement that should allow local authorities to take a less zealous approach to the rules, Bagley said.

The practical illustrated guide sets out the legal requirements for the removal of SRM.

EU food safety experts at the EFSA will meet later this year to decide whether to raise the 30-month limit.

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