South Korea Regains FMD-free Status29 May 2014
SOUTH KOREA - South Korea regained its status Wednesday as a country free from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and was also declared safe from other animal diseases, according to the agriculture ministry.
South Korea has not reported any outbreak of FMD since 2011. FMD is a viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, such as pigs, cows and sheep.
At the 82nd general meeting of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris, South Korea was declared safe of three another animal-related diseases, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
"The OIE decision is the outcome of our efforts that have successfully prevented a recurrence of FMD since 2011," Deputy Minister Lee Joon-won told a press briefing.
"We expect the country's newly regained status as an FMD-free country will help boost domestic consumption of livestock products. We also expect it to help increase the country's exports, especially to Southeast Asian countries," he said.
South Korea shipped US$41 million worth of meat products, including poultry products, in 2013. However, the country used to export hundreds of millions of dollars worth of pork products alone in the mid-1990s, according to Lee.
"Now that the country regained the status of an FMD-free nation, we can say that we have gained a momentum to actively expand exports of meat products," he said.
The country was ranked as a country with negligible risk of BSE, the highest level of safety for the disease.
There have not been any confirmed cases of mad cow disease in South Korea, but the OIE ranked it as a country with controlled BSE risk in 2010 mainly because of its regulation that requires a minimum survey period of eight years, the ministry said.
The country was also declared free of peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and Africa Horse Sickness, both of which have never been reported in the country. PPR, also known as goat plague, affects goats and sheep and is most frequently reported in Africa.
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ThePigSite News Desk