Packers are essential to the success of business continuity for the sheep industry during a foot and mouth (FMD) outbreak in livestock. Product that has passed USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) inspection is safe and wholesome for human consumption. Packers may find themselves being regulated by animal health officials managing the outbreak as a way to control this animal disease. Packers and State Animal Health Officials are encouraged to work together to determine the best options that reduce FMD virus spread via livestock trucks and plant employees while aligning with capabilities and local regulations.
FMD is not a public health or food safety concern. Meat is safe to eat.
Packing plant employees, truck drivers, and others who contact animals or their bodily fluids must observe proper biosecurity protocols to avoid transmitting the FMD virus to susceptible animals when these individuals leave the plant. All personnel must be instructed on biosecurity steps to follow prior to and after leaving the plant. The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) has foreign animal disease guidance documents, including biosecurity measures for packers available on their website.