The National Farmers Union wants the U.S. to stop importing meat from areas with Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). This news release says the group has submitted comments to the federal government asking that it not allow meat to come in from Northern Argentina and Uruguay because of ongoing concerns with FMD.
“Livestock health is critical to production agriculture and our nation’s ability to provide a safe food supply,” said [NFU President Roger] Johnson in comments submitted … to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). “Achieving the necessary means to ensure livestock health is a priority for NFU.”
Johnson noted that NFU supports banning livestock, animal protein products, and meat imports that would jeopardize U.S. efforts to eradicate livestock diseases, including FMD, and that allowing imports of beef from Northern Argentina could potentially conflict with these efforts.
“APHIS acknowledges that Northern Argentina is not considered to be free of FMD,” said Johnson. “In May of 2000, the World Organization for Animal Health designated Argentina as FMD-free without vaccination. Just two months later, FMD outbreaks reappeared, culminating in the epidemic outbreak in 2001. Since then, Argentina has made multiple unsuccessful attempts to eradicate and control FMD, and concealed the outbreaks from the international community for months.”
In addition to the health safety risks, NFU points out an FMD outbreak in the U.S. could cause devastating economic consequences for farmers and ranchers in this country, totaling in the billions of dollars.
You can read all of NFU’s comments here.