How Europe's foot and mouth directive could hit UK pig keepers

UK - The main interest for the UK pig sector in the EU foot and mouth directive is the proposal for heat treatment of pigmeat from restricted areas.
calendar icon 14 April 2003
clock icon 3 minute read
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NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & White-hall, and with pro-cessors, supermarkets & caterers – fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

As the proposal stands the following will happen…

  • Protection Zones (minimum radius 3km).
    Within Protection Zones pigs may be sold for slaughter but the pigmeat from them must be cross-stamped and heat treated. The resulting product gets the Oval stamp. There is a derogation by which the EU Standing Committee could relax these conditions where Protection Zones have been maintained for more than 30 days. But remember that further outbreaks will result in a fresh Protection Zone being established and this may overlap the original zone so for some farms the heat treatment rule may last longer than 30 days.

  • Surveillance Zones (minimum radius of 10km).
    Within Surveillance Zones pigs may be moved to slaughter and pigmeat can be marked with the Oval stamp and placed on the market provided animals have observed a 21 day standstill, have been inspected, and the meat has either been sampled and tested for foot and mouth or detained for seven days. Again, the EU Standing Committee may decide to derogate from these rules where Surveillance Zones have been in place for more than 30 days.

  • Vaccination Zones.
    In a Vaccination Zone pigs which have been vaccinated may move to slaughter and the resulting pigmeat has to be heat-treated during the period from date of vaccination to the date that the farm concerned has been surveyed and classified as free of foot and mouth. (This period is described as phase one and two). Once this period is over, meat from pigs (but not ruminants) is free to be sold on the fresh meat market without treatment. Where a situation exists, as nearly occurred in Cumbria last time, that there is a selective vaccination by species, the meat treatment rules only apply to the vaccinated animals.
NPA have raised the fundamental question as to why any heat treatment is necessary when our laws forbid the consumption by livestock of any mammalian protein.

However Defra pointed out this is based on OIE (Office International des Epizooties) rules and felt there was little likelihood of the Commission agreeing to drop it.

Raw meat does present a risk of foot and mouth transmission and other countries will expect heat treatment before accepting pigmeat from Protection Zones within the first 30 days, or Voluntary Zones during phases one and two.

Source: National Pig Association, By Ian Campbell, - 14th April 2003
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