Foot and Mouth Disease: Disease Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 1st June 2022.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the recent outbreak of foot and mouth in Southeast Asia does not spread to the UK.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Measures are in place to reduce the risk of foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus entering the UK and to prevent its introduction to livestock. These measures include:

  • monitoring of international surveillance reports to inform Defra’s assessment of the threat presented by different trade routes;
  • working with our National Reference Laboratory and international networks and partners, including Australia and New Zealand, to better assess risks. This informs targeting of measures at the border, domestic disease surveillance and communications to raise the awareness of livestock keepers;
  • only permitting imports from countries which meet our import conditions, including compliance with measures to prevent and detect FMD in those countries;
  • requiring imported meat and dairy products to be accompanied by animal and public health certification confirming that they come from an area that is free from FMD;
  • strict rules for the movement of animals and genetic material, including specific rules for limiting trade with any regions affected by FMD;
  • veterinary certification of the health of the animals to be imported prior to departure and confirming compliance with the trade conditions;
  • 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.

Our FMD contingency plan describes the measures we take to prevent and, in the event of an incursion of FMD, control outbreaks of FMD. The plan is reviewed annually and tested regularly, including national response exercises. (

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