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Minister Coughlan reviews FMD Situation

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., this morning chaired a further meeting of the Management Committee of her Department's National Disease Control Centre (NDCC). The meeting reviewed and assessed the most recent information available to the Department, including confirmation from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in London that the FMD strain found in Surrey 'is most similar to strains used in international diagnostic laboratories and in vaccine production'. The Minister described this as a significant development.

The Minister and her officials also reviewed the control measures in place and, based on the current position, Minister Coughlan decided that no additional measures were warranted at this time. The temporary ban on the importation from Britain on live cattle, sheep, pigs and goats and fresh meat products from those animals as well as raw milk will remain in place and will be reviewed in the light of an EU Commission decision which is expected to be adopted in the coming days.

Minister Coughlan confirmed that her Department was continuing to treat the situation in Britain with the utmost seriousness and she and her officials are remaining on high alert. The Minister stressed that this is an evolving situation and one that requires constant monitoring and said that she wouldn't hesitate to introduce such additional measures as might be considered appropriate in the event of any further developments in Britain. In this regard, the Minister said that she and her officials were continuing to work closely with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland.

Minister Coughlan also confirmed that all importations of live cattle from England since 1 July had been traced and the farms on which they are now located have been visited by Departmental staff and the animals clinically examined and showed no evidence of disease.

The Minister said that it was important that all necessary precautions continue to be taken and particularly important that farmers would continue to exercise the highest standards of biosecurity, including minimising the movement of persons, vehicles and animals on, off and between farms.

5 August, 2007

Date Released: 05 August 2007