Further lift of foot-and-mouth restrictions on pigmeat and beef in the UK

The Standing Veterinary Committee voted on Wednesday 24 October in favour of a European Commission proposal extending the area from where Britain is allowed to export fresh pigmeat and beef. The extension concerns all the counties that have had no outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or have remained free of the disease for more than three months.

The counties of eastern England and Wales, Scottish counties and islands such as the Shetlands have been allowed to export fresh pigmeat since 22 October. The latest decision by the EU vets will also allow beef to be exported from these areas.

The European Commissioner for Public Health David Byrne said on Tuesday that he was “cautiously optimist” on the regression of the disease in Great Britain, but reminded farmers to remain very careful.

 

British pigmeat exports last year were mainly to the EU and were valued at £183 million for 214,000 tonnes of meat. Earlier this year, the highly infectious foot-and-mouth disease hit more than 2,000 farms in Britain and led to the slaughter of nearly four million animals.

UK pigmeat export restrictions on Northern Ireland had already been lifted on 7 June. On 10 October, the EU's Standing Veterinary Committee recommended that pigmeat from certain areas in the UK should be allowed again for export under strict conditions, for the first time since the foot-and-mouth crisis.

 

The proposals of the Veterinary Committee still have to be formally adopted by the Commission, before entering into application. The situation in the British sheep and goat sector will be evaluated at the next meeting of the Standing Veterinary Committee on November 6 and 7.

 

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