International authorities declare South Africa free of foot-and-mouth disease; announcement comes following three-year ban on export of red meat from country as a result of the disease

SOUTH AFRICA , February 18, 2014 () – AFTER a three-year ban on the export of red meat because of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, the international authorities have declared South Africa free of of the disease.

This comes after the red meat industry lost an estimated R4 billion annually after the ban came into effect in February 2011.

Yesterday, Edith Vries, director-general of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said the country's suspension of being a zone free of the disease had been lifted and South Africa's foot and mouth disease-free status reinstated.

Vries described this as "good news for which the government should be credited".

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OiE) in Paris had visited South Africa after the outbreak and laid down the steps the agriculture department would have to take to regain its foot and mouth disease-free status. On Friday the OiE wrote to Botlhe Modisane, chief director in charge of animal health in the department, to say it had considered the department's report on corrective measures that had been implemented. The OiE's scientific commission had concluded that South Africa now complied with the Terrestrial Animal Health Code.

"I am please to inform you that the status of its foot and mouth-free zone... is thus re-instated as of 14 February 2014 for the zone of South Africa... I congratulate you for the very

Cape Times

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