The European Union has agreed to allow T-bone steaks, including Italy's famous Fiorentina, back into Europe's restaurants, lifting a four-year ban imposed over fears of mad cow disease.

In 2001, the European Union banned the sales of beef containing the backbone of animals 12 months and older to reduce the risk of humans eating beef infected with mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy).

The union's European Food Safety Authority has now raised the age limit to 24 months.  This move could mean that T-bone steaks will be back on sale across Europe by the end of the year.

Health experts have warned that eating tainted beef could expose people to the human form of the illness.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.