BRITISH BEEF IS SAFEPrime Minister Margaret Thatcher said Tuesday the French and West German bans on British beef are "quite illegal" and she insisted there was no health danger.

"British beef is safe," the prime minister said during question time in the House of Commons. "Those who have banned it have done so more as a measure of protection for their own farmers."

France imposed the ban last week saying some meat might be tainted with ''mad cow" disease. The disease, technically called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is an incurable and fatal nervous disorder identified in Britain in 1986.

West Germany and Luxembourg imposed their own bans later in the week. West Germany's Agriculture Ministry said it feared British beef normally destined for France might be rerouted to West Germany.

John Watts, Conservative Party lawmaker, said it would be improper for Britain to respond in kind, but he urged British consumers to use their purchasing power to boycott French goods, including "Appalling French Golden Delicious apples."



ROTTERDAM, Netherlands - World sunflower seed production is estimated to hit a record 22.7 million metric tons in the 1990-91 crop year (October-Septe mber), the Hamburg-based weekly newsletter Oil World said in its latest edition.

The estimate would mean world sunflower seed production will rise 1 million metric tons, or 4.6 percent, from the 1989-90 crop year, and rise 2 million metric tons from the 1988-89 year, it said.

The higher production forecast, mainly because of increased anticipated production in the EC, is now estimated to reach 4.35 million metric tons during 1990-91, the publication said.

This represents an increase of roughly 17.2 percent from the 3.6 million metric tons produced last year.