Ireland becomes first EU nation to be allowed to resume beef imports to US since mad cow scare

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Ireland says the United States will permit imports of beef from the country — the first European Union state allowed to resume sales since the mad cow disease scare over 15 years ago.

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Simon Coveney, Ireland's minister for agriculture, food and the marine, issued a statement Monday announcing that access to the lucrative U.S. market came after American authorities inspected Ireland's beef production systems. Authorities estimate annual exports could be worth at least 25 million euros ($30 million).

The U.S. lifted its ban on beef from the EU in March 2014, but inspections were necessary before exports were allowed to resume.

Mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is fatal to cows and can cause a fatal human brain disease in people who eat meat from infected cows.