Pleas for calm over foot-and-mouth hit Britian

Government pleas for calm among consumers appear to have hit home in the wake of Britain's first major outbreak of foot-and-mouth for 20 years.

Government pleas for calm among consumers appear to have hit home in the wake of Britain's first major outbreak of foot-and-mouth for 20 years.

The British Meat and Livestock Commission says it feels sure assurances that the outbreak will not affect public health have been fully understood.

There is no suggestion that Britain's domestic meat market is about to suffer its biggest downturn in consumption since the BSE crisis.

Supermarket giant Asda, which has a 16% share of the 80,000 tons-a-week meat market, says it has not received a single inquiry concerning the crisis on its customer services hotline by this morning.

A spokeswoman said: "We are only aware of a couple of customers making inquiries concerning foot-and-mouth in stores but we have had no calls. That compares with the hundreds of calls we dealt with every day at the height of the BSE crisis.

"It would appear the public has got the message that the disease poses no threat to human health or the food chain.

"But we are not being complacent about this. We are constantly monitoring developments and have ordered suppliers to notify us immediately if they have a problem."

Sainsbury's says it has had just five calls from worried customers at its customer services centres in London and Manchester.

A spokesman said: "The message seems to be getting through that this disease does not affect humans."

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