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Health and Consumer Protection

Press releases

Brussels, 11 July 2001

Results of the Standing Veterinary Committee

The Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) today voted in favour of European Commission proposals with regard to classical swine fever (CSF) and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). On CSF the area in Spain from where the exports of live pigs and porcine semen, ova and embryos are banned has been reviewed and on FMD the restrictions applicable in the United Kingdom and Uruguay have been prolonged. These proposals will now be adopted by the Commission in the next days. On FMD, the Committee also adopted a statement calling to maintain a high level of disease awareness and preparedness throghout the European Union.

Classical swine fever in Spain

Since 14 June 2001, the date of the first outbreak, eighteen outbreaks of classical swine fever (CSF) have been confirmed in Spain. Most of the outbreaks (15) are concentrated in the province of Lerida in Cataluña and one in the province of Castellón, at the border of Cataluña. Yesterday however two cases have been confirmed in a new area, more to the south: One in the province of Valencia and the other in the province of Cuenca.

Spanish authorities have taken actions provided for in Council Directive 80/217/EEC of 2.1.1980 introducing Community measures for the control of CSF around the affected areas. Furthermore, Spain today adopted supplementary precautionary measures by banning any movement of pigs in the whole country except directly to the slaughterhouse. With this decision all exports of pigs are also banned.

The disease situation still being unclear, the Commission proposed to prolong the protective measures for a certain time, to extend it to other areas and to exclude non affected areas from the decision.

In detail, dispatch of live pigs and porcine semen, ova and embryos are banned from the following areas in Spain:

- In the Comunidad Autonoma de Cataluña: all the comarcas in the Province of Lerida; the comarca of Anoia in the Province of Barcelona; the comarcas of Conca de Barberá, Priorat and Rivera d'Ebre in the Province of Tarragona;

- In the Comunidad Autonoma de Valencia: the comarcas de Chelva, Llira, Utiel, Requena, Torre Baja in the Province of Valencia;

- In the Comunidad Autonoma de Castilla la Mancha: the comarcas of Landete, Cañete and Motilla del Palancar in the Province of Cuenca.

- In the Comunidad Autonoma de Aragon, the municipalities of Arcos de las Salinas, Torrijas and Abejuelas in the Province of Teruel.

The proposal will now be formally adopted by the Commission and shall apply until 31 July. The Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) will review the situation at its next meeting, for the moment scheduled for 24 July.

Foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom

The restrictions still applying to the United Kingdom with regard to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), applying until 20 July 2001, have been prolonged until 30 September 2001. These restrictions are: The prohibition to export from Great Britain live susceptible animals, fresh meat and meat products, fresh milk and milk products and other animal products from those species, unless the latter are treated appropriately.

Foot-and-mouth disease in Uruguay

On 23 April 2001 Uruguay confirmed outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and suspended exports of fresh meat from susceptible species. On 19 May 2001, the Commission adopted a decision confirming this suspension until 30 days after completion of the emergency vaccination programme introduced by Uruguay. The intention of the Commission was to re-authorise the import of deboned and maturated meat from 16 July onwards.

A mission of the Commission Food and Veterinary Office took place in Uruguay at the end of June. The findings of this mission raise some concerns in relation to certain control measures in place in Uruguay concerning the current FMD situation, in particular concerning the number of outbreaks, the control of animal movements and the meat maturation process.

Therefore, the SVC voted in favour of a Commission proposal to prolong the suspension of imports from Uruguay into the European Union of fresh meat from FMD susceptible species until the disease situation has further stabilised and the deficiencies noted during the mission have been rectified.

Statement on foot-and-mouth disease

The SVC adopted the following statement on the situation of foot-and-mouth disease:

"The Standing Veterinary Committee at its meeting of 11 July 2001 took note of the report by the United Kingdom (UK) delegation of the recent foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) evolution in Great Britain. The Committee acknowledged the progress made in controlling the disease in most parts of the UK; however it shares the concerns of the veterinary services in the UK about the occurrence or recurrence of FMD in or near existing infected areas.

The Committee concluded that a high level of disease awareness and preparedness must be maintained throughout the Community.

The Committee therefore strongly urges the competent authorities and stakeholders in all Member States to maintain their vigilance and to fully support the measures taken in close collaboration between the Commission and the Member States to eradicate FMD from the whole of the EU territory".

Released on 12/07/2001

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