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Brussels, 29 May 2002

Don't bring back FMD from South Korea, David Byrne tells EU football fans

Football fans travelling to South Korea for the World Cup matches must not bring back any food and take care if staying in the countryside. South Korea has recently reported a number of outbreaks of foot and mouth disease (FMD) and the South Korean Government has put all necessary controls in place to contain the disease. Imports of animal and animal products from South Korea are not allowed into the EU. However, Commissioner David Byrne, responsible for Health and Consumer Protection, reminded football fans and national authorities to be vigilant: "We are just recovering from a most traumatic period last year when the European Union, especially the United Kingdom, suffered from a major FMD outbreak. We have to do everything possible to avoid the disease being brought back to Europe again. The damage caused by last year's outbreak was immense, not only in financial terms but also in the loss of prized herds and the damage to tourism in the affected areas". The Commissioner added, "I cannot overemphasise the need to observe the rules. They are simple and straightforward. We must be sure that the World Cup in South Korea is not remembered for the wrong reasons."

The European Commission has reminded the authorities of all Member States to make sure all travellers to South Korea are aware of the risk and to put in place effective controls at airports for returning fans. No food, neither a ham sandwich nor a milk shake should be brought back or sent back via mail.

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) does not infect humans. However, the virus does affect a range of farm animals and can be transmitted by humans, on their clothes and shoes. The virus can also be carried in food.

The South Korean Government believes it will be very unlikely football supporters will be exposed to the FMD virus as the FMD infected areas are in the countryside, far away from the World Cup stadiums and tourist areas. The Government is taking measures to control the outbreak and prevent the spread of the disease.

For detailed and up-to-date information on the FMD situation in South Korea, go to:

For detailed background information on FMD, go to:

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