Meat is likely foot-and-mouth source

22 February 2001

Meat is ‘likely’ foot-and-mouth source

By FWi staff

INFECTED meat is the most likely source of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain, claims the countrys top vet.

Exports of livestock, meat and dairy produce have been banned following the discovery of the disease among pigs in an abattoir in Brentwood in Essex.

The finger of suspicion points at meat products, Chief Veterinary Officer Jim Scudamore told the BBC Radio Four Farming Today programme.

“That seems to be the most likely way,” he said.

“In the past, when the disease has arrived in a country where there has been no disease, then meat products are a very likely source.”

The UK cases were caused by a pan-Asiatic strain of foot-and-mouth disease similar to that which caused an outbreak in South Africa last year.

But Mr Scudamore cautioned against claims that the disease came from South Africa, as no epidemiological link had been established.

“We need to get the whole thing in perspective,” he said. “This is a strain which has been found in a lot of countries.”

Since 1996 it has been detected in a whole range of countries in the Middle and Far East, he added.

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