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S. Africa lifts foot-and-mouth ban on meat exports

South Africa has lifted a seven-week ban on red meat exports after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, but a restriction on livestock will remain, the agriculture minister said Tuesday.

“The department has decided to relax the restrictions imposed on the movement of meat and meat products as they pose minimal risk. However, the ban on the movement of live animals stands,” said minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

Nearly 65,000 cattle had been vaccinated since the ban was announced on February 28 after cattle and goats had tested positive in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.

“We need to once more reiterate that we are in control of the situation and thus there is no need to panic,” said Joemat-Pettersson.

Foot-and-mouth does not infect humans but is highly contagious and potentially deadly in cattle, goats, sheep and other cloven-hoofed animals.