SEOUL — South Korean dairy farmers are pouring away 200 tons of milk a day as the country grapples with its worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, an official said Thursday.
A potential milk shortage is the latest problem posed by the outbreak, along with a shortage of space to bury all the 3.2 million livestock culled so far.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said late last month the Korean outbreak was the worst in 50 years in the region.
The agriculture ministry has so far spent 1.9 trillion won ($1.7 billion) on culling cattle, pigs, goats and deer, compensating farmers and launching a nationwide vaccination programme.
The milk supply has fallen by eight percent and diaries may face supply problems, said a ministry official in charge of the issue.
Some 36,000 milk cows have been culled nationwide, according to the Korea Dairy Committee. Milk from cows within 500 metres (1,640 feet) of an outbreak must be poured away in case it is tainted.
"When the vaccination process is complete, the raw milk provided by cows within a 500 metre radius will be usable," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Livestock has been buried at more than 4,000 sites in the densely populated nation.
But the environment ministry warned this week that some sites on sloping terrain could collapse when temperatures rise and rain starts falling, with infected carcasses fouling ground water supplies.
The ministry said it would check all burial sites for safety by the end of April and shore up defective ones.
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