USDA to deem Argentina region as FMD-free

USDA to deem Argentina region as FMD-free

By Tom Johnston on 9/1/2014

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Friday proposed a rule to deem to an Argentine region as free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), ostensibly opening the door here for imports of beef from that region.

APHIS said in its federal register notice the agency is adding a region including Patagonia South and Patagonia North B to the lists of regions considered free of FMD.

APHIS also is adding the Patagonia Region to its list of regions subject to certain import restions on meat and meat products due to their proximity to or trading relationships with countries affected by those animal diseases.

The agency believes such action will protect the United States from the introduction of FMD, but opponents to the proposal aren’t as comfortable.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), for one, noted an associated proposal to allow chilled or frozen beef to be imported into the United States from the region of Northern Argentina, which is not recognized as FMD-free by APHIS. The NCBA also questions APHIS’s review process, saying the agency hasn’t divulged written reports from its site visits.

“FMD is an extremely contagious viral disease of clove-hooved animals and many wildlife species,” NCBA President Bob McCan said in a statement. “This disease is considered to be one of the most economically devastating livestock diseases in the world, and an outbreak of FMD could ultimately threaten the entire U.S. economy as well as jeopardize our national food security.”

The proposed rule is scheduled to take effect in 60 days.

To read the entire proposed rule, click here.