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Meat producers back export ban

Mar 01 2011 16:52 Sapa

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Bloemfontein - The Red Meat Producers' Organisation (RPO) supports the preliminary suspension of all exports of cloven-hoofed animals from South Africa, it said on Tuesday.

RPO manager Gerhard Schutte said South Africa was a net importer of meat and that less than 1% of the country's meat was exported.

On Monday, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced that there was a suspected outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

"The department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries has picked up some suspect positive serological results for foot-and-mouth disease," Joemat-Pettersson told a press conference at parliament.

She said over 600 animals had been tested and 50% of them were found to be positive.

"The RPO supports the state in relation to the temporary suspension of exports of cloven-hoofed animals and products, while the extent of the problem was being investigated," Schutte said in a statement.

The RPO said that when the reach of the disease had been established, it would negotiate with the department to declare the rest of the country foot-and-mouth-free areas.

Schutte reiterated that foot-and-mouth disease does not affect people.

"Meat that is bought in the formal trade is safe for humans," he said.

Schutte urged farmers to check up on their biosecurity systems.
foot and mouth disease  |  meat
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