EU reinstates British meat ban after foot-and-mouth outbreak

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Three weeks after EU-27 veterinary experts agreed to lift a ban on British meat exports, confirmation of a new outbreak of the highly-infectious foot-and-mouth disease in Surrey has led to the introduction of another trade ban.

The EU’s Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) reinstated restrictions on the movement of British meat and meat-related products on 12 September, as a new outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was confirmed in Surrey. 

The previous ban on exports was lifted on 25 August, after a smaller outbreak had been contained, in an area approximately 50 kilometres south of the new outbreak. 

“This is news that no one wanted to hear, least of all the farming industry,” said the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hilary Benn. According to farmers, the general trade ban in place last month was already costing them some €2.7 million per day. 

The strain – and origin – of the new outbreak has not yet been identified, and all animal keepers are urged to be vigilant for signs of the disease (high fever, blisters inside the mouth and on the feet and swelling in the testicles) and follow established biosecurity measures and restrictions on movement.

All animals on the infected holding are being culled – in line with measures foreseen under EU legislation – and 3km protection and 10km surveillance zones have been established around the premises.

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