Brussels, 8 August 2007
Foot-and-Mouth Disease: Standing Committee approves Commission Decision maintaining measures for Great Britain
Member States today expressed their support for the measures taken by the UK, and reinforced by the Commission, to control the recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Surrey. Following an update on the disease situation by the UK delegation, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health voted unanimously in favour of a Decision confirming the measures taken by the Commission in line with EU legislation, with a number of technical modifications. The Committee agreed that the whole of Great Britain should continue to be defined as a high risk zone, as requested by the UK authorities.
The UK authorities reported to the Standing Committee on the disease situation and the measures taken to contain and control the virus. Since 3 August 2007, two foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks have been confirmed, both within the restricted zone set up after the first outbreak. Animals from the infected farms have been culled and these holdings are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. In line with the measures set out in the EU foot-and-mouth disease Directive, a protection and surveillance zones have been set up, in which movement restrictions and upgraded biosecurity measures are being applied.
High risk zone
At the request of the UK authorities, the Standing Committee agreed that the whole of Great Britain should remain classified as a high risk zone for the moment in view of the continued uncertainty about the evolution of the disease situation and the need to maintain a cautious approach. The Commission and the UK authorities will keep the situation under review and will work together to achieve regionalisation as soon as the evidence is available to justify it.
In the Decision some legal aspects related to trade were clarified. It was confirmed that meat from Northern Ireland, which is outside the high risk zone, will be allowed to transit through Great Britain, so long as the necessary precautionary measures are adhered to.
Investigating the source of the outbreak
The UK also provided the Commission and Member States with an update on the investigations being carried out into the source of the FMD outbreak. The Commission welcomed the effort being made to rapidly identify the source, and encouraged the UK to continue its investigations on this matter.
The Decision endorsed by the Standing Committee will be adopted by the Commission in the coming days by accelerated written procedure. The Decision will remain in force until 25 August and the Commission intends to call a further meeting of the Standing Committee on 23 August to review the evolution of the disease situation and the Decision.