F.M.D. fears prompt Japanese import restrictions

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON –Temporary restrictions have been placed on certain commodities from Japan due to foot-and-mouth disease (F.M.D.), based on notifications from Japan of an outbreak in cattle that is consistent with F.M.D. On May 28, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (A.P.H.I.S.) announced it notified the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P.) on April 22 that effective immediately A.P.H.I.S. veterinary services (V.S.) these restrictions were placed.

As a result, A.P.H.I.S. is drafting an interim rule that would remove Japan from the list of regions recognized as free of F.M.D. Once published, that rule would indefinitely prohibit the importation of susceptible animals and most products from susceptible animals from Japan.

Ruminant (cattle, sheep, goats, camelids and cervids) meat and meat by-products are currently prohibited from Japan due to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (B.S.E.), with the exception of boneless cuts of fresh beef, normally referred to as Kobe beef. Under these new import restrictions, boneless/Kobe beef will now be refused entry, including in passenger baggage.

Fresh pork from Japan is currently prohibited entry due to swine vesicular disease and classical swine fever. Ruminant and swine products and by-products such as milk and milk products, blood/serum, tissues, nutraceuticals and research samples must now be imported accompanied by a V.S. import permit that lists treatments to mitigate for F.M.D. Shipments not accompanied by appropriate documentation of an F.M.D. treatment will be refused entry.

These restrictions exclude cooked canned shelf-stable pork meat, which can continue to enter the United States. However, cooked canned shelf-stable ruminant meat continues to be prohibited due to B.S.E.

F.M.D. is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of cattle, swine and other cloven-hooved ruminants that causes severe losses in the production of meat and milk and has serious implications for animal agriculture in any country where the disease is detected. The U.S. has not had an outbreak of F.M.D. since 1929.

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