Preventing Non-Endemic Animal Diseases
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, and other government agencies have been successful at keeping non-endemic animal diseases, such as FMD and African swine fever, out of North America by denying imports of live animals and certain high-risk meat products from countries where the diseases are endemic. The inspection process covers only a few percent of imports, however, and some prohibited meat products still manage to enter the United States. Travelers returning from endemic regions may also carry the robust viral pathogens on their shoes and clothing.
The task of protecting the food supply chain from deliberate attack or contamination is known as “food defense.” Determining the vulnerability of food and agriculture facilities and operations to terrorist attack involves the use of a risk-assessment methodology called “CARVER + Shock.” CARVER stands for “Criticality, Accessibility, Recouperability, Vulnerability, Effect, and Recognizability,” to which the seventh attribute “Shock” is added. “Shock”, assesses the combined health, economic and psychological impacts of an attack within the food industry. Based on this assessment, food and agriculture companies develop and implement tailored plant security and risk-mitigation strategies.16
Because prevention is not foolproof, animal-disease surveillance systems are designed to detect an outbreak at an early stage so that it can be contained rapidly before it spirals out of control.
Globally, the backbone of the livestock-disease surveillance system is a network of 156 reference laboratories and collaborating centers run by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). In addition to detecting and reporting suspected outbreaks of animal disease, the centers analyze samples taken from the affected animals to confirm the diagnosis.