Export bans eased in France and N. Ireland

EU vets ease export ban on France and Northern Ireland, while US will lift its ban on EU raw meat in stages

The European Union's Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) on 3 April ordered a relaxation of a ban on French livestock and gave permission to Northern Ireland to resume exports of livestock products. The SVC decided to follow a more regionalised approach to the foot-and-mouth situation in France and the United Kingdom.

The Committee replaced its ban on French meat exports with a regional embargo. The ban will continue to apply to the French department of Seine-et-Marne and neighbouring departments of Seine Saint-Denis and Val-d'Oise until 12 April. The Dutch and British general export ban will remain in place.

Fears of foot-and-mouth disease have risen in Germany as a suspected case was discovered on a pig farm near the Dutch border. There have been 12 confirmed cases of FMD in the Netherlands since the middle of March. Around 100 piglets have already been slaughtered as a precaution.

The Bush Administration said on 3 April that it would lift the US import ban on EU raw meat in stages, as US experts evaluate the risks of FMD. The US stopped all imports of live animals and raw meat products from the EU in March when the highly contagious disease spread from Britain to France. Since the ban, EU officials, notably Health Commissioner Byrne, have urged the US to regionalise its ban to cover only EU Member States infected with FMD.

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