Although Uruguay managed to recover in six months the international free of foot and mouth disease with vaccination certification, (including from the European Union and United States), it will continue vaccinating until May 2003. Dr. Recaredo Ugarte, head of Uruguay's Livestock Sanitary Services revealed this week that much will depend on the regional sanitary situation, and in a possible co-ordinated action at Mercosur level to avoid "past confusing experiences". "This means we are in the process of creating a Veterinary Committee at Mercosur level to unify criteria and regional action, particularly emphasizing in co-ordinated preventive actions. Although country situations are different all members are very positive about the initiative", indicated Dr. Ugarte. Dr. Ugarte also announced that Uruguay began beef shipments to Egypt and is talking with Brazilian authorities regarding sales of beef and lamb with bone to that country. The local beef industry says it will need to slaughter 1,5 million head of cattle during 2002 to recover pre FAM activity levels. Last April Uruguay experienced a breakout of FAM that rapidly spread to the whole country. The virus came from Argentina.