Canada hogs first test negative for foot-and-mouth

Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:48pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has temporarily closed the Olymel hog plant in Red Deer, Alberta, after it received a suspicious load of hogs, but initial tests have ruled out foot-and-mouth disease, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

Final analysis of the initial negative results will be available late Tuesday or on Wednesday after further analysis at the federal laboratory in Winnipeg, said CFIA spokesman Guy Gravelle. The initial tests were negative for any reportable animal disease, including foot-and-mouth, he said.

"Preliminary results can often be turned around based on the final analysis but at this stage everything looks like it's not FMD or anything of that sort," Gravelle said.

The government continued to test the roughly 200 hogs in the original load, said Gravelle, adding that it's likely not all have been tested yet.

He could not say what type of testing CFIA was conducting.

The hogs had lesions when they arrived at the plant that raised suspicion because Canadian veterinarians aren't familiar with foot-and-mouth, said Jurgen Preugschas, president of the Canadian Pork Council.

"I feel fairly comfortable that it's all going to be clear," Preugschas said.

Japan and South Korea are already fighting outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease this spring, leading the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization in April to urge heightened international surveillance.   Continued...