16 March 2001

Carrying can for hygiene

RESPONSIBILITY for checking drivers are fully disinfecting milk lorries, to minimise risk of spreading foot-and-mouth virus to unaffected units, must lie with milk producers.

Under the Milk Code, issued by MAFF in response to the disease, milk purchasers must ensure that drivers take precautions at each milk collection point.

These precautions include cleaning and disinfecting boots and outer protective clothing on arrival and again on leaving a unit – this also applies to the outside of milk collection hoses – and disinfecting steps, wheels and mudguards of lorries when leaving the farm.

However, ADASs Nick Holt-Martyn advises producers to take responsibility for keeping foot-and-mouth risks to a minimum. "Supervise disinfection of milk tankers at each collection. It may put you out, but the stakes are high and risks are not worth taking," he says.

According to a Cheshire dairy producer who contacted FARMERS WEEKLY, infected carcasses are moving by lorry to Widnes rendering plant, local producers are beginning to disinfect milk lorries with enough care.

"A week ago, Cheshire was not in a high risk area and too many people were being lackadaisical about disinfecting vehicles, but to crack foot-and-mouth everyone needs to work together."

He admits that it is difficult to make a convincing job of disinfecting a lorry with a knapsack sprayer – which all drivers should carry in their cabs – so he has bought a self-priming 12V electric pump which can disinfect a lorry in two minutes. But after 10-days of restrictions his disinfectant bill is £150.