HEALTH and safety experts trying to find the source of two foot and mouth outbreaks in Surrey are today concentrating their investigation on the drainage system from the American-owned plant which manufactures anti-FMD vaccines close to the outbreaks.
It is possibly that the disease leaked out on local farms via the drains because experts have ruled out the possibility of air-released contamination.
But they will continue to interview staff at both the privately-owned Merial site and the government-owned animal disease centre next door to establish if there has been any human contact between workers there and the two infected farms.
This remains a "real possibility" said Defra minister Hilary Benn in a statement issued last night but he made no reference to speculation that the disease may have been deliberately spread by disaffected employee/employees at either laboratory.
Meanwhile, the EU has praised Britain for imposing export controls on meat exports whilst the emergency in underway. They go further than required by EU law, it was said, which will not please hundreds of farmers in Yorkshire and other English regions suffering from movement restrictions despite being hundreds of miles from the two outbreaks.
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