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Citing FMD Risk, NMPF Opposes Beef Imports from North Argentina

January 12, 2015

Citing concerns over the risk of a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in the United States, NMPF opposed a proposal by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to allow chilled or frozen beef imports from Northern Argentina.

“NMPF is a proponent of fair trade policy and using science-based standards to facilitate international trade,” said Vice President for Sustainability and Scientific Affairs Jamie Jonker. “But we are also committed to ensuring the health and well-being of the U.S. dairy herd. And we have serious concerns about Argentina’s ability to prevent the introduction of Foot and Mouth Disease in the United States.”

In comments filed December 29, NMPF noted that, while Northern Argentina is recognized as FMD-free with vaccination, some of its neighbors are not, and some of its border areas have few natural barriers. The U.S. has been FMD-free since 1929 due to stringent import controls of animals and animal products from FMD affected areas of the world.

NMPF said APHIS audits of Argentina’s inspection system identified deficiencies in meat import procedures, and European Union audits highlighted concerns over Argentina’s border controls, vaccination controls, FMD surveillance measures and wildlife management.

In addition, NMPF said a qualitative, or descriptive, Foot and Mouth Disease risk assessment of imported Argentine beef should have been data-based, as a 2002 FMD risk assessment involving neighboring Uruguay was.

“A Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak would be devastating for U.S. dairy farmers,” said Jonker, noting that most past U.S. FMD outbreaks were caused by importing infected animals or animal products. “With so much at stake, NMPF cannot support the current APHIS proposal to allow fresh meat imports from Northern Argentina.”