The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed yesterday [Thursday] that it is considering whether to lift a foot-and-mouth disease ban on imports of meat products from Britain, which declared itself free of the highly contagious disease last week.

Britain formally requested that the US lift the ban last week and Jim Rogers, spokesman for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said that US officials are now investigating whether FMD had been successfully contained and eradicated.

The world animal health organization, Paris-based International Epizootic Office (OIE), approved Britain as free of foot-and-mouth disease on Tuesday.

If the USDA lifts its ban, most meat products manufacturered in Britain would still be banned from entering the US because of the threat of BSE and the country’s proximity to other FMD affected regions in Europe.