FAST FOOD giant McDonald's banned British beef yesterday - but only for their customers in Holland.
Dutch bosses vetoed 60 tons of hamburger meat which contained 18 tons of British beef.
The action came as shoppers here -alarmed by the Mad Cow scare - shunned home beef and rushed to claim refunds on meat already bought.
Major supermarket chains reported a sales slump of up to 20 per cent, despite big price reductions. Tesco said customers were switching to white meat. Sainsbury's spoke of a "noticeable decline" in beef sales.
The McDonald's ban in Holland was imposed after customers there expressed fears over British beef.
Spokeswoman Yvette Bannier even said the suspect supply could be shipped back to Britain.
"Maybe McDonald's in the United Kingdom is still open to using this meat," she said.
The firm has 600 outlets across the nation. It is still sticking by British beef, despite Wednesday's official confirmation that humans can catch the CJD version of Mad Cow Disease from infected beef.
McDonald's UK said its Dutch counterpart was only following government policy there, and added: "We are completely confident about the safety of our Big Mac beef and the beef in all our products."
But Italy and Switzerland have also banned British beef, bringing the boycott toll worldwide to at least 20.
Shoppers' fears here were summed up by Irene and Wilfred Young, from Hengeod, Mid Glam, who said; "We've got a lovely joint in the fridge, but it's going in the bin."
Game seller Charles Bach, of Chessington, Surry, said his customers were snapping up alligator and crocodile meat, rather than risk beef.
'PLAY SAFE - CUT IT OUT'
Sheila McKechnie, director of the Consumers Association, said the only totally safe solution in not to touch it.
Germany, Singapore, New Zealand and Finland joined France, Belgium, Sweden, Holland and Portugal by closing their borders to Britsh beef, threatening thousands of jobs.
South Africa, the biggest buyer outside Europe, is set to join them as the