UK-based laboratory declares Australian sheep healthy, disease free
October 13, 2012: Australian sheep exported to Pakistan have been declared healthy and disease free by Pirbright Institute, a UK based laboratory. A total number of 102 blood samples drawn from the sheep by an independent committee constituted by the Sindh High Court and tested at Pirbright Institute reference laboratory in England, proved the sheep were free of infectious diseases and posed no threat to human or animal health in Pakistan, a press release issued by Wellard, sheep exporting company of Australia claimed.
According to it, in his report, Dr Jef Hammond, the Pirbright Institute’s Head of Vesicular Disease Reference Laboratories stated: The samples have tested negative for the presence of antibodies to Bluetongue, PPR Virus and FMD virus. The interpretation of these results is that because no antibodies to these disease agents were found then the sheep were not infected with these diseases and there is no reason to exclude them from being processed for human consumption on these grounds subject to the usual meat inspection processes.
Managing Director Wellard Rural Exports Australia, Stephen Meerwald said the judgement was further and final endorsement of the health of the Australian sheep. “From the outset, Wellard, PK Livestock and the Australian Government have claimed the sheep to be healthy and fit for human consumption,” he added. The samples were sent to Pirbright Institute on October 1, by the government which were received in England on October 3, and tested there at the reference laboratories. Pirbright tested them negative for the presence of antibodies to Bluetongue Virus, PPR Virus and FMD virus.-PR