Trade of meat to resume for more of GB

The European Commission has voted to ease restrictions on meat and livestock exports to Europe, three weeks after the last foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) case in Surrey.

The decision by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) means several more English counties are now considered low risk. The Commission is expected to adopt the proposal on 26 October.

Dorset, Somerset, Glocestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Leicestershire and all areas of Great Britain to the north and west will be able to export. All areas to the south and east of these counties are still restricted.

One of the most significant relaxations is the decision that ruminants from the low risk areas will be allowed to be transported through and slaughtered in the high risk area, subject to stringent restrictions. This will bring welcome relief to processors in the high risk area.

A further change is that the pre-slaughter standstill required for animals will be reduced from 30 days to 21 days.

Stuart Roberts, director of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), said: "From a processing perspective, the fact that any abattoir now or any meat processing facility outside of Surrey can process for export is a positive. The fact that they've increased the area from which the animals can come from is a positive. They've made some minor changes to the 21 day restriction but with all due respect the changes they have made haven't made a huge difference and therefore the 21 day point is still the restricting point. So good news, another step forward but still room for significant improvement particularly on the 21 day."

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