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Action taken against U.K. animal lab

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Pirbright, England (UPI) May 27, 2011
Britain's health and safety watchdog agency says it has taken action against an animal health lab at the center of a hoof-and-mouth outbreak four years ago.

The Health and Safety Executive has served the Institute for Animal Health in Pirbright with two "improvement notices" resulting from two incidents earlier this year involving infectious material, the BBC reported Thursday.

In January, a flask containing hoof-and-mouth virus cracked and leaked in a sink that drained into a secure drainage system, so the virus did not leak into the environment.

In a second incident in February an incinerator that was burning cow carcasses leaked liquid but the leak was contained within the incinerator building.

HSE inspectors concluded both were serious incidents and there had been a breach of health and safety legislation in each case.

The Pirbright site was implicated in an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in August 2007 that led to the slaughter of more than 2,100 animals in Surrey and Berkshire.

An official investigation indicated the virus could have originated from the Pirbright site, but no prosecution was brought against the lab after the Surrey County Council said there was a lack of evidence to determine the exact source of the outbreak, which cost the farming industry tens of millions of pounds, the BBC reported.

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