Switzerland's Federal Veterinary Office has decided to partially lift restrictions on meat imports from several European Union countries that were hit by foot-and-mouth disease.
The Office announced on Thursday it was lifting its meat sanctions against Northern Ireland immediately. The decision also affects British horse imports, but the Swiss authorities imposed the condition that imported animals must not have had contact with any cloven-hoofed livestock.
Although horses are not subject to foot-and-mouth disease, imports into Switzerland had been banned because of fears that the disease would spread with transport vehicles and the hay they contained.
Thursday's decision also gives a green light for imports of Dutch meat, meat-based products and dairy products as of August 25.
That date was fixed following a recommendation from the International Office for Epizootic Diseases, which is in charge of monitoring the foot-and-mouth epidemic. The Office said restrictions could only be lifted 90 days after the last vaccination of animals or after disposal of the animals.
In the Netherlands, there have been no reports of the disease since May 26.
Switzerland has decided to maintain a complete ban on meat, meat-based products and non-pasteurised dairy products from mainland Britain because of the continuing resurgence of the disease.
The ban affects hoofed livestock from those countries.
swissinfo with agencies