Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd December 1957.

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Photo of Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon , Wells 12:00 am, 2nd December 1957

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in what percentage of primary outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease during the last three years infection has been attributed to imported meat; and in what percentage of these outbreaks has the infection been traced through bones.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

Fifty-six per cent. of primary outbreaks since 1st January, 1955, are attributed to imported meat and wrappers and 30 per cent. of these to bones.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon , Wells

Would my hon. Friend not agree, therefore, that there are some grounds for the plea that meat coming in from areas known to be infected—if not continuously, at any rate from time to time—should be imported without the bone?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

That is a point which has been considered on a number of occasions, but it involves real difficulties. My right hon. Friend had the opportunity of discussing some of the related problems with the Argentine Minister when he was in this country last week.

Photo of Mr Anthony Hurd Mr Anthony Hurd , Newbury

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to what extent, when tests are made to classify the different types of foot-and-mouth disease virus found in imported meat, a record is kept of the country of origin; and what proportion of the recent samples carrying the South American type of virus came from each of the South American countries.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

Tests such as my hon. Friend refers to are not made, and my right hon. Friend is advised that they would not serve any useful purpose, since all types of foot-and-mouth disease virus occur both in South America and in Europe.

Photo of Mr Anthony Hurd Mr Anthony Hurd , Newbury

Can I take it from my hon. Friend's Answer that some of the virus infection attributed to South American meat might come not from South America but possibly from Europe?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

The same type of virus is common in many cases, but, of course, that is not the only reason on which there is based the belief that a particular meat which has caused infection has come from South America.