The Senate farm bill released last week includes language establishing a vaccine bank to deal with an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease, a priority for livestock groups.
The House version of the bill includes FMD language, as well. National Pork Producers Council President Jim Heimerl called the language “encouraging,” adding that: “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.