Meat from Far East blamed for epidemic

Contaminated meat imported into Britain and fed to pigs is likely to have caused the foot-and-mouth outbreak

A UK government report to be published today (27 March) finds that contaminated meat illegally imported from the Far East is the most likely source of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. According to the report, smuggled meat was probably served in an unnamed Chinese restaurant in the North East of Britain and ended up in pigswill, which was then fed to pigs at Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland.

The report will also show that the spread of FMD was attributed to sheep where the disease lay undetected for two to three weeks before the first cases were discovered in pigs from the farm in Northumberland.

British agriculture minister, Nick Brown is expected to propose a ban on the feeding of swill to pigs and restrict the resale of sheep.

27 new cases of foot-and-mouth disease were reported Monday (26 March) in the UK, bringing the tally so far to 634.

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