Commission to propose revision of foot and mouth directive

Commissioner Byrne regards emergency vaccination to be part of the control strategy from the start of an outbreak.

Speaking on 12 September before the Temporary Parliamentary Committee on Foot and Mouth, Commissioner David Byrne drew up a simple formula that needs to be applied to eradicate foot and mouth disease:

  • High levels of bio-security and disease surveillance;
  • Quick and decisive action in the event of an outbreak;
  • Strict controls on animal movements and reliable systems of animal identification;
  • Clear leadership and allocation of responsibilities.

The Commission will propose a revision of the FMD directive in late October, to provide a more flexible approach to emergency vaccination in the case of an outbreak. Emergency vaccination will now be considered as part of the response mechanism. Based on the proposal, the decision to vaccinate would be made in consultation with the Member States and in particular, the Member State affected. The decision to authorise vaccination would have to be approved by the Member States. The Commissioner underlined that there would be no labelling requirement to distinguish between vaccinated and non-vaccinated meat.

Restrictions are expected to come into force on 1 December on importing foodstuffs in personal baggage, once adopted by the Standing Committee on Food Chain. A new legislative proposal is foreseen on the requirement of individual identification of sheep, by means of electronic tagging, to better control animal movement. Finally, the Commissioner also made reference to the Animal Transport Directive, whose reform has been delayed due to differing views between producers, the animal welfare movement and Member States which trade in live animals.


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