Foot and Mouth Disease: Disease Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 27th March 2018.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has in place to prevent a potential outbreak of foot and mouth disease among livestock.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

There are a series of measures in place to reduce the risk of foot and mouth disease virus entering the UK and to prevent its introduction to livestock. These measures include:

  • Strict rules for the movement of animals and genetic material being traded between EU Member States. These include specific rules for limiting trade with any regions affected by FMD;

  • Animal products, such as meat and milk, produced within the EU must be produced in accordance with EU animal and public health legislation, including specific rules for trade with regions affected by FMD;

  • Imports are only permitted into the EU from a restricted list of countries which meet EU standards including compliance with measures to prevent and detect FMD in those countries. Meat and dairy products imported from third countries must be accompanied by animal and public health certification confirming that they come from an area that is free from FMD;

  • Import of animals must be supported by veterinary certification of the health of the animal prior to departure and confirming its compliance with the trade conditions;

  • Animals and animal products imported from third countries must enter the EU through a Border Inspection Post where checks are carried out to ensure that import conditions have been met;

  • Surveillance and monitoring of FMD reported internationally is used to inform Defra’s assessment of the threat presented by different trade routes. This informs targeting of measures at the border, domestic disease surveillance and communications to raise awareness of livestock keepers.

  • Post-import checks on a proportion of imported animals; and

  • A ban on the feeding of certain animal products that might introduce FMD to livestock in the UK.

For further detail on the measures in place to maintain disease freedom see Section 3 on pages 9-11 of the Foot and Mouth Disease Control Strategy for Great Britain. This is available at the link below: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69456/fmd-control-strategy111128.pdf

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