A new scientific review by D. Paton & al. focuses on the risks associated with trade in deboned beef from foot-and-mouth disease infected cattle, countries or zones.
The risk that imported livestock and their products may introduce foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) restricts trade in these commodities from parts of the world where FMDV has not been eradicated. This reduces investment and development of the livestock sector in many developing countries as well as export trade opportunities and global food supply.
This review focuses on the risks associated with trade in deboned beef (DB) from foot-and-mouth disease infected cattle, countries or zones. A definition of DB is provided along with a description of the procedures required for its preparation within abattoirs. A review of the available evidence is presented for circumstances under which DB can be contaminated with FMDV and some figures are provided for the amount of this commodity that has been traded from FMDV-infected regions. Additional mitigating measures to reduce the risk of FMDV contamination of DB are discussed, particularly pre-slaughter measures, such as surveillance, quarantine and vaccination. It is clear that a combination of preslaughter and slaughterhouse measures has resulted in a commodity (DB) with a negligible risk of transmitting FMD. Nevertheless, it is concluded that the current evidence does not provide absolute assurance that abattoir procedures for producing deboned beef can on their own result in a commodity with a negligible risk of transmitting FMDV without complementary measures to reduce the likelihood of slaughtering infected cattle. The main areas of uncertainty are the amounts of residual FMDV-harbouring tissues within DB, and our understanding of what constitutes a safe level of contamination. More detailed guidance should be developed to specify what mitigating measures are needed in support of the export of DB from regions that are not officially FMD-free. Generic or ambiguous guidance that leads to differences in interpretation can give rise to obstacles to trade and should be avoided. Further data to evaluate the safety of DB might be provided by a study of the amounts of residual lymph node and bone marrow tissues within DB.