§ Miss McIntosh
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the Government expect to lift the over-30-month rule. 
§ Ms Quin
The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee has identified criteria against which the controls on beef over-30-months of age can be reviewed in the future, and began to address these at its meeting on 18 March 1999. The Committee recognised that the issue would require careful study and would almost certainly need to be considered over several meetings.
At its meeting on 20 September the Committee noted that it was expected that updated epidemiological analyses of the BSE epidemic would be available for its meeting on 29 November. The Committee agreed to postpone further consideration of the over-30-month rule until that meeting so that it could take these analyses into account.
In the light of the Committee's conclusions, and after consultation with all interested parties, the Government will consider what changes to the over-30-month rule, if any, could be made, consistent with the continued protection of public health. Any changes to the rule will need to be agreed with the European Commission and member states as it forms part of the Florence Agreement on the lifting of the beef export ban.