PRESS RELEASE: Response To Preliminary FMD Report

Response To Preliminary FMD Report

The following statement by Merial Animal Health, Limited was issued

Aug. 8 -- It is in response to preliminary report by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential source of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in an area close to the Pirbright centre, which houses both the government-operated Institute of Animal Health and a vaccine production facility operated by Merial. The report on the preliminary investigation makes no final conclusions, and indicates that additional investigative work will continue. One focus of the ongoing investigation reported will be the handling of water on the two sites, and the role of human movement on the sites, Merial will continue to issue update statements as required.

Statement by Merial – Wednesday, August 8, 2007 06:00 (UK)

Merial acknowledge the interim report issued by the HSE today.

We fully support the investigation and will continue to co-operate and provide complete access to our centre to enable these investigations to continue.

Over the last three and a half days we have conducted intensive internal investigations and, as a result, continue to have complete confidence in our processes and procedures for health, safety and environmental protection, quality control, quality assurance and regulatory compliance. To date, we have not been able to establish any evidence that the virus may have been transported out of our centre by humans.

We share the views that the risk of airborne transmission is negligible however, we do have a point of clarification to make regarding the references made to the role water may have played in this outbreak. There is a suggestion that waste water released to the environment by Merial may have been a possible cause of the outbreak. We wish to clarify that Merial does not release water from the shared Pirbright site. We ensure that the water we use in our virus production is treated, we then transfer it to the IAH who treat it further and release it.

Everyone involved in this investigation understands that this report is part of an ongoing process and that the outbreak is causing farmers hardship. We are committed to playing our role in establishing the cause and, like everyone else, want to ensure that lessons are learned, that measures are taken to control, contain and eradicate this outbreak as quickly as possible and, that future outbreaks are prevented.

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