Meat producers support announcement on meat exports

2011-03-01 14:39

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

RPO manager Gerhard Schutte said South Africa was a net importer of meat and that less than one percent of the country’s meat was exported.

Yesterday, 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 decease 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 could 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 bio-security systems.

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