Safeguarding U.S. Borders

The USDA is stepping up efforts to protect the U.S. against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) says Beth Lautner, DVM, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

The “virtual safety net” around U.S. borders consists of:

  • Alerting officials at U.S. ports of entry to check passengers and luggage for items that could carry FMD.

  • Increasing personnel and dog teams at airports to check incoming international flights. More than 200 additional, temporary inspectors will cover high-traffic international ports.

  • Reminding inspection personnel to check cargo and passengers arriving from the United Kingdom.

  • Alerting private veterinarians to watch for signs in domestic livestock.

  • Ensuring military vehicles are washed and disinfected prior to reentry into the U.S.

  • Increasing the USDA budget supporting inspection activities by $11.8 million.

Many other related activities have been coordinated by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to alert and protect the U.S. livestock industry from FMD.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has agreed to explore carcass disposal in each state.

APHIS is conducting a risk assessment of potential pathways of FMD into the U.S.

A 30-second FMD video public service announcement has been mailed to 1,200 television stations.

Extension agents will receive an informational package of APHIS activities on safeguarding the U.S. from FMD.

More articles on foreign animal disease start on page 18.

Farm Visitor Policy

The University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) has adopted a farm visitor policy to guard against foreign animal disease.

“We have an obligation to ensure that the university's livestock are not exposed to these very damaging diseases,” explains Darrell Nelson, dean and director of the school's agricultural research division. Livestock has been selected over generations for specific traits that meet research needs.

Under the new rules, all domestic and international visitors to IANR must fill out a questionnaire. They must document country of origin, countries visited in the past two weeks and contact with animals in the past two weeks.

“Visitors from countries with foot-and-mouth or other serious disease outbreaks will not be allowed to enter our animal research facilities,” says Nelson. “Visitors from countries without disease risks will be allowed to visit research facilities with the permission of the unit administrator, provided that they have not been in a country with a disease outbreak in the past 14 days.”

American visitors overseas must wait 14 days after their return for entry. Special permission may be granted to domestic visitors who only traveled to disease-free countries, didn't visit farms or had no animal contact.

Learn more about IANR on their Web site,

Japan Lifts Pork Ban

The recent lifting of Japan's ban on pork imports from some European Union (EU) countries has cost U.S. pork exporters their chance of capitalizing on the situation.

Some U.S. analysts had expected Japan's ban on Danish pork imports due to concerns about foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Europe would provide a growing market for U.S. and Canadian pork exports. Danish pork exports accounted for 77% of EU meat exports to Japan in 2000.

Although the ban was lifted, it was stipulated that meat can't enter Japan until three weeks after slaughter. Japan's ban was lifted for Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Austria. The ban remains on meat and animals from Germany, Italy, Belgium and Spain.

Direct impact on the U.S. from the EU's FMD outbreak is largely confined to the pork market, according to USDA's Economic Research Service. The U.S. had previously banned EU beef products due to concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The ban on EU pork products will remain in effect until it is determined that FMD is no longer spreading and that infection is at a low level, says a USDA spokesman. The EU exported 196 million lb. of pork to the U.S. in 2000. Some 54% of that product was fresh and frozen pork, which is banned. Cooked pork products are allowed. Pork imports from Denmark accounted for 76% of that total.

Video Boar Auction

The first video auction of maternal Yorkshire and Landrace boars is 7:30 p.m. June 1 at the Midwest Type Conference, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL.

This new event is sponsored by the National Swine Registry (NSR), West Lafayette, IN. It will feature pre-screened maternal genetics representing some of the top sow productivity bloodlines in each breed, based on estimated progeny differences generated by the STAGES program.

For a preview copy, contact the NSR at (765) 463-3594 or visit their Web site at