WASHINGTON, December 1, 2020 — In July 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) sought public comment on a petition from a vaccine manufacturer seeking approval to produce foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine consisting of a modified non-infectious and non-transmissible strain of the virus on the U.S. mainland. Today, APHIS is reopening the comment period for this petition for an additional 30 days.
Although introduction of live FMD virus into the United States is prohibited by law, the petition states that this leaderless strain should not be considered live FMD virus as it is non-infectious, non-transmissible, and incapable of causing FMD.
With the reopened comment period, APHIS is providing commenters with additional scientific information supporting our determination that the leaderless virus strain from which Zoetis, Inc. intends to produce FMD vaccine in the United States poses no risk of causing FMD infection in animals. This action gives interested persons the opportunity to review the additional information and submit comments.
Public comments will be accepted through January 4, 2021 at the following site: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2020-15031. APHIS will thoroughly review all comments before making its determination.
FMD is a severe and highly contagious viral disease affecting cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, and other animals with divided hooves. It was eradicated from the United States in 1929, but if it were to infect the U.S. livestock industry, it would cause devastating economic effects.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.