F&M thrives in the cold

3 May 2001

The agent which causes foot and mouth disease is progressively inactivated by temperatures above 50°C and by pH levels below 6.0 and above 9.0. It can also be inactivated by a range of disinfectants. With media hype and public concern, it is important to bear in mind that the standard leather making process involves the treatment of hides or skins with strong alkaline solutions to a pH in excess of 12, pickling with acid to a pH below 3, tanning with chromium or other tanning agents and dyeing and drying at a temperature well above 50°C. Each of these processes will be more than sufficient to inactivate the foot and mouth virus. This means that under EU legislation, limed hides, pickled pelts, wet-blue and fully tanned leather can be freely traded within the EU on condition that the accompanying commercial documentation demonstrates the processes the material has undergone.

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