Farm ministers agree on new foot-and-mouth directive to control outbreaks

On 12 June, the Agriculture Council reached political agreement on the new foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) directive which aims to improve EU measures to control future outbreaks of FMD.

This new legislation will cover measures ranging from the notification of a suspect case through to the measures to be taken in relation to animals and their products during an outbreak, until disease free status is regained. A key element in this new legislation is that in contrast with the "non-vaccination policy" that prevailed until recently, this new legislation gives emergency vaccination an important role in tackling an outbreak (see alsoEURACTIV 19 December 2002).

The draft directive calls for measures to be taken to increase preparedness for a possible outbreak, including the setting up of diagnostic facilities, the establishment of a European antigen bank, as well as the preparation of contingency plans, preparing also for a worst-case scenario.

FMD does not pose a health danger for humans but it has had in the past grave economic and psycho-social impact in the EU.

Following its formal adoption by the Council under the Italian presidency, the new FMD directive will enter into force in July 2004.

 

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