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Secure Food Supply Planning

Foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreaks have the potential to cause devastating impacts for farms and farm economies across the globe. In the United States, secure food supply planning protects animal health, food systems, public health, the environment and the economy from the introduction and spread of FADs. Prevention and emergency response planning efforts are the result of collaborations with state, federal, university, veterinarian and agricultural industry stakeholders.

These plans offer voluntary guidance for livestock producers to prepare before a foreign animal disease outbreak. Practicing every day biosecurityOpens a new window helps to prevent disease incursions on the farm and while moving farm animals and animal products. Producers who create a Secure Supply Plan for their farm operation and, during a FAD outbreak, have animals with no evidence of infection may qualify for a movement permit to continue doing business. The planning and biosecurity practices will help to ensure continuity for the livestock industry, transporters, packers and processors.

The goals for secure food supply plans are:

  • Avoid interruptions in animal and animal product movement from farms with no evidence of foreign animal disease infection.
  • Provide a continuous supply of food to consumers.
  • Maintain business continuity for producers, transporters and food processors with emergency response planning.

The Concern About Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a very contagious viral foreign animal disease (FAD) that primarily affects cloven-hooved livestock and wildlife including cows, sheep, pigs, goats, deer and elk. Although adult animals generally recover, the illness rate is very high and significant pain and distress occurs in some species. High rates of death can occur in young animals or in some wildlife populations.

Long term affects of FMD may include:

  • Decreased milk yield.
  • Permanent hoof damage.
  • Chronic mastitis.

Foot and mouth disease was once found worldwide, but it has been eradicated from some regions including all of North America and western Europe. Where it is endemic, this disease is a major constraint to the international livestock trade. Unless strict precautions are followed, FMD can be readily re-introduced into disease-free regions via animals or animal products.

When introduced, the virus can spread rapidly, particularly if livestock densities are high or detection is delayed. Outbreaks can severely disrupt livestock production, result in embargoes by trade partners, and require significant resources to control. Direct and indirect economic losses equivalent to several billion US dollars are not uncommon. Since the 1990s, a number of outbreaks have occurred in FMD-free countries. Some, such as the 2001 outbreak in the U.K., were devastating.

Secure Food Supply Planning for Continuity of Business

If foot and mouth disease (FMD) is found in United States livestock, regulatory officials will limit the movement of animals and animal products to try and control the spread of this very contagious animal disease. FMD is not a public health or food safety concern. Meat and milk are safe to eat and drink.

The Secure Milk Supply (SMS) Plan for Continuity of Business (COB) provides opportunities to voluntarily prepare before an outbreak. This will better position dairy premises with cattle that have no evidence of infection to:

  • Limit exposure of their animals through enhanced biosecurity.
  • Move raw milk to processing under a movement permit issued by regulatory officials.
  • Maintain business continuity for the dairy industry, including producers, haulers, and processors during an FMD outbreak.

COB is the management of non-infected farms and non-contaminated animal products in the event of an foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak. COB provides science- and risk-based approaches and systems as a critical activity in any FAD response. This helps agriculture and food industries maintain or return to business during a disease response, while the risk of disease spread is effectively managed.

How the Continuity of Business Process Works

Secure Food Supply Continuity of Business Chart

Chart source: USDA APHIS FAD Response Ready Reference Guide

Elements of Continuity of Business for Managing the Movement of Animals and Products

  • Risk assessments – for determining the foreign animal disease transmission risk of specific animal product movements.
  • Permitting guidance – transparent, explicit guidance for Incident Command regarding movement requirements for various commodities.
  • Surveillance requirements – how frequently samples will be collected, from what animal populations, and for how long.
  • Biosecurity guidance – appropriate precautions, steps, and personal protective equipment for personnel, fomites, and equipment used before, during, and after movement of animals or commodities.
  • Cleaning and disinfection (C&D) procedures – requirements for fomites and equipment, including appropriate disinfectants.
  • Epidemiological and premises information – routine and non-routine movements to and from premises, along with information on the number of animals, species and age.
  • Information management – effective, scalable, and flexible systems that facilitate situation awareness and data sharing among partners in a COB plan.
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