The National Pork Producers Council says it is encouraged by the Senate farm bill released last week which includes language establishing a vaccine bank to deal with an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease. NPPC President Jim Heimerl said, “With a vaccine bank, we’ll finally be able to adequately prepare for an FMD outbreak. But, we do need mandatory funding to make it work.”
FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. Although the disease was last detected in the United States in 1929, it is endemic in many parts of the world. NPPC says that currently the United States does not have access to enough FMD vaccine to handle more than a small, localized outbreak. Studies show that an FMD outbreak in the United States, it would cost the beef and pork industries a combined $128 billion over ten years.
The House version of the bill includes FMD language as well.