EU imposes export ban amid British foot-and-mouth probe

The EU Commission imposed Monday an official ban on exports of meat, milk and animals from Britain as the investigation into the source of the foot and mouth outbreak at a farm in southern England continued.

 EU imposes export ban amid British foot-and-mouth probe
The EU Commission imposed Monday an official ban on exports of meat, milk and animals from Britain as the investigation into the source of the foot and mouth outbreak at a farm in southern England continued.

Merial Animal Health, a private US pharmaceutical company located at the Pirbright site isouth of London, where an identical strain of the disease was found, denied Monday that there had been any breach in its biosecurity procedures.

Three days after the outbreak was discovered at a farm near Guildford, the source of the outbreak has not been confirmed.

However, inspectors working at the Pirbright site hoped to have the results of their inquiries within the next 36 hours, the BBC reported Monday.

Investigations were still focusing on the Institute for Animal Health Laboratory at a site in Pirbright, five kilometres from the farm where the outbreak was discovered.

"To date our investigations continue to show no breach in our procedures," Merial's managing director David Biland said Monday. "However, it is still too early in this investigation for anyone to determine the cause of the outbreak."

Vaccines using the particular strain found at the Surrey farm were being produced in large quantities during the month of July, British Environment Secretary Hilary Benn confirmed Sunday.

The Institute of Animal Health Laboratory had also denied that it had breached bio-security procedures.

In Brussels, a high-risk zone is to be drawn up in cooperation with British authorities. It is expected to include all of the United Kingdom with the exception of Northern Ireland.

An official ban is being imposed on all exports involving cloven- hoofed animals, including live animals, meat and animal products, said a spokesman for the European Commission.

The British government had itself requested that the high-risk zone should be extended beyond the area around the farm.

The European's Commission decision was due to be made official later Monday afternoon.

Veterinary experts from the EU states were planning to meet in Brussels on Wednesday to examine whether the ban should remain in place or whether it should be modified or made less stringent.

The British government on Saturday voluntarily halted all exports of cloven-hoofed animals, including live animals, meat and animal products, pre-empting the European Commission's ban.

DPA
Last Mod: 07 Ağustos 2007, 01:07
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