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NPPC Submits Comments on Proposed USDA Rule for Gene-Edited Livestock
For more than two years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has dragged its feet on the development of gene-edited livestock, an emerging technology with tremendous promise for livestock agriculture,causing American agriculture to fall behind in the global race to advance its development. Thankfully, under a recently proposed rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will have primary regulatory jurisdiction, which “will foster innovation, allow for producer access to this technology, and preserve the preeminence of American agriculture globally,” the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) wrote in comments submitted Wednesday to the agency.
Gene editing is used to make specific changes within an animal’s own genome. Gene editing will allow us to produce animals that are more disease-resistant, require fewer antibiotics and with...
USDA Provides More than $70 Million in 2021 to Protect Agriculture from Plant Pests and Diseases
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating more than $70 million to support 383 projects under the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 program to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, to safeguard the nursery production system and to respond to plant pest emergencies. Universities, states, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits, and Tribal organizations will carry out selected projects in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
“State governments, academic institutions, and other essential cooperators across the country use these USDA funds to protect American crops and natural resources and...
Confirmation of COVID-19 in a Snow Leopard at a Kentucky Zoo
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) announced the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in a snow leopard at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky. This is the first snow leopard in the United States to test positive for SARS-CoV-2. Confirmatory testing is ongoing for two other snow leopards at the zoo.
Samples from three snow leopards were taken after they showed signs of respiratory illness. All three of the snow leopards are expected to fully recover. It is suspected that they acquired the infection from...
APHIS Announces $14.4 Million in Farm Bill Funding to Protect Animal Health
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is awarding $14.4 million to 76 projects with states, universities, and other partners to strengthen our programs to protect animal health.
This critical funding supports projects focused on increasing practical livestock biosecurity measures or advancing rapid depopulation and disposal abilities to be used during...
USDA Updates the National Poultry Improvement Plan
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is updating the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) to align with changes in the poultry industry and to incorporate new scientific information and technologies into the NPIP. These updates are consistent with the recommendations approved by representatives from across the poultry industry at the 2018 NPIP Biennial Conference.
In this update, APHIS is...
USDA Announces Initial Purchase of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced the initial purchase of vaccine for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank. APHIS will invest $27.1 million in foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, which the agency would use in the event of an outbreak to protect animals and help stop the spread of disease.
Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. The disease is endemic in many parts of the world and would have widespread, long-term fallout for livestock and crop agriculture, including...
CBP Intercepts Nearly 20,000 Pounds of Smuggled Animal Products from China at LA/LB Seaport
In just a few weeks, from April 6 to June 6, U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists assigned to the LA/Long Beach Seaport, intercepted 19,555 pounds of prohibited pork, chicken, beef and duck products arriving from China.
Most of the unmanifiested animal products were commingled in boxes of headphones, door locks, kitchenware, LCD tablets, trash bags, swim fins, cell phone covers, plastic cases and household goods in a clear attempt to smuggle the prohibited meats.
CBP agriculture specialists identified, examined and seized 12 shipments containing a total of 834 cartons which lacked the required...
USDA Announces Transition to Preventive Plan for Virulent Newcastle Disease in California
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing that effective today, we are transitioning our virulent Newcastle disease (vND) efforts in southern California from a response focus to implementing a prevention plan aimed at keeping vND from recurring in the region. Even with extensive testing taking place, APHIS has not confirmed any new vND cases since February 1, 2020. As a result, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is removing its vND quarantine.
“APHIS and CDFA employees have worked tirelessly over the past two years toward this goal,” said Dr. Burke Healey, USDA Chief Veterinarian. “While this is a big accomplishment, we need to continue...
APHIS Establishing Coordination Center to Assist Producers Affected by Processing Plant Closures
American livestock and poultry producers are facing an unprecedented emergency due to COVID-19, particularly with the closing of meat processing plants in several states. USDA is leading the federal response by working in coordination with the Vice President’s Task Force, the CDC, OSHA, Department of Labor, industry, state and local governments, and others across the federal family to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on producers.
We will continue to seek solutions to ensure the continuity of operations and return to production as quickly, safely and as health considerations...
USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic H7N3 Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in South Carolina
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in commercial poultry in the United States since 2017. It appears this HPAI strain mutated from a low pathogenic strain that has been found in poultry in that area recently.
No human cases of this H7N3 avian influenza virus have been detected and there is no immediate public health concern. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to...
USDA Statement on the Confirmation of COVID-19 in a Tiger in New York
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans) in one tiger at a zoo in New York. This is the first instance of a tiger being infected with COVID-19. Samples from this tiger were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed symptoms of respiratory illness.
Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus. The zoo has been closed to the public since mid-March, and the first tiger began showing signs of sickness on March 27. All of these large cats are expected to...
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Ensures Food Safety During Coronavirus Outbreak
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ensured the safety and timely delivery of the country’s food supply while simultaneously protecting the health of the Department’s employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a letter from USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA said that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) are “rising to meet challenges associated with COVID-19...”
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