Pigswill may be banned to prevent foot-and-mouth repeat

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The Independent Online

Even as the foot-and-mouth outbreak rages uncontrolled, plans are being laid to prevent a repeat of the disaster, it emerged today

Even as the foot-and-mouth outbreak rages uncontrolled, plans are being laid to prevent a repeat of the disaster, it emerged today

Later this week the Government will launch a review that is likely to lead to a nationwide ban on pigswill, which is suspected of fostering the spread of diseases.

And rapid movements of sheep around the country are to be blocked by a ban on sales within 21 days of purchase.

Pigswill - left-overs from school dinners, restaurants and cafes - is already banned in some European countries, such as Portugal and Luxembourg.

And Britain bans the use of uneaten airline dinners in swill because they may contain food originally from abroad, which could bring disease into the country.

Suppliers and users of swill containing meat already have to be licensed, submit to quarterly MAFF inspections and heat-treat the slops to at least 100 deg C to kill off bugs.

But these precautions are no longer considered adequate in the wake of the present epidemic and last year's classical swine fever outbreak in East Anglia.

Just 82,000 pigs - about 1.4 per cent of the national herd - are thought still to be fed on swill, and a MAFF spokesman stressed that there was as yet no proof that pigswill was to blame for the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Peter Jinman, a member of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee set up in the wake of the BSE outbreak, backed a ban on pigswill.

He told Sky News: "The problem these days is we have got foodstuffs coming from all around the world and our controls are much more difficult to implement when we are having imports of everything under the sun from every country in the world.

"We have got to boil this stuff up, sterilise it and we have got to control that."

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