GAO Report Suggests Heightened FMD Readiness Needed

March 26, 2019

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has issued a report suggesting USDA’s preparedness for a potential foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak needs to be strengthened. As an example, the report indicated the entire current U.S. supply of FMD vaccine would be sufficient to protect about 14% of the cattle in Texas and 4% of the hogs in Iowa. Those states have the highest populations for the respective species.        

As part of its 2016 vaccination policy, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service specified 25 million doses of FMD vaccine for each of the 10 subtypes of the virus was an appropriate minimum target to have available. GAO found, based on USDA documents, the U.S. currently has access to only 1.75 million doses of each subtype in the vaccine bank.

Requested by U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, the GAO report validates the inclusion of funding for a new U.S. FMD vaccine bank in the 2018 Farm Bill. NCBA was one of the lead organizations calling for this provision to be approved by Congress.