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Minister Coughlan reacts to latest FMD case in Britain

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today described confirmation of a second case of foot and mouth disease in Surrey as "disappointing but not surprising, given its proximity to the first case". The Minister said that she and her officials were being kept fully up-to-date on emerging developments and were continuing to closely monitor the situation.

Minister Coughlan said that, having reviewed the latest position with her officials, she was satisfied that no further measures, other than those provided for in an EU Commission Decision adopted yesterday, were required at this time.

The Minister confirmed that, in compliance with the EU Commission Decision, a complete ban was being maintained on the importation from Great Britain of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, meat (including fresh and minced meat as well as meat preparations) and meat products from such animals, milk and dairy products and some other animal products. In certain circumstances, some meat products, dairy products as well as other animal products may be exported from Great Britain if accompanied by a health certificate and, in some instances, an endorsed commercial document.

With regard to Northern Ireland (which is not included in the ban), a system of certification will apply in relation to the importation of live animals, meat and meat products, milk and dairy products as well as other animal products. Any live animals or products being imported from tomorrow (Wednesday, 8 August) will have to be accompanied by the appropriate certificate and three days notice of animal imports is required. The Minister said that her officials had advised the food industry of the new measures today.

The Minister also confirmed that, while horses travelling from Britain, including Irish horses returning from there, would have to be accompanied by an animal health certificate, no such certification requirements would apply to horses travelling from Northern Ireland.

Minister Coughlan concluded by saying that she had made an Order requiring the provision of adequate facilities for the washing, cleansing and disinfecting of vehicles used for transporting cattle, sheep, pigs and goats by any slaughter establishment, port or harbour or any mart, market, fair, show, lairage or other assembly centre. The Minister said that adequate cleansing and disinfection were vital to disease prevention.

7 August, 2007

NOTE FOR EDITORS

The relevant EU Commission Decision is Commission Decision 552/07/EC, concerning interim protection measures with regard to foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom. Full details of the measures relating to the export of live animals and various animal products from Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be published in the national newspapers tomorrow (Wednesday) and have been posted to the Department's website.

Date Released: 07 August 2007