New policy addresses FMD outbreak scenario

Published on December 31, 2012
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As a proactive move, the AVMA Executive Board approved a new policy during its Nov. 15-17, 2012, meeting that will be sent to the federal government as a recommendation regarding the response to a potential foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.
The policy recommended by the Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee is as follows:
Citric Acid as a Disinfectant for FMDv
The AVMA strongly advocates for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to proactively and collaboratively secure a Section 18 exemption for the use of citric acid as a Foot and Mouth Disease virus (FMDv) disinfectant.
Citric acid has long been recognized as an effective disinfectant. According to the recommendation background, the AVMA has concerns that in the event of an FMD outbreak in the United States, there would likely be an immediate shortage of approved disinfectants or logistic complications in getting them to the needed sites.
Section 18 exemptions to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which may be requested by state or federal authorities, authorize the EPA to allow an unregistered use of a pesticide or disinfectant for a limited time if the agency determines that an emergency condition exists. Citric acid is not registered in the U.S. as a disinfectant against FMDv.
“Having the Section 18 exemption in place in advance of an outbreak would enhance disease response and containment efforts by increasing the immediate availability of authorized disinfectants while decreasing the time lag associated with obtaining the exemption, establishing supply sources, and then addressing any logistical or field operations issues if they arise,” according to background for the policy.
Dr. Kristi Henderson, an assistant director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, said if or when the USDA were to apply for the exemption, notification could potentially appear in the Federal Register.
“Having this policy in place would allow the Association to increase membership and stakeholder awareness of the issue as well as send a letter in response to such a Federal Register notice, making its position known in a timely manner,” she said.
The board also reaffirmed the policy “Use of Biotechnology in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Agriculture” on the AALC’s recommendation.
The AVMA affirms the responsible use of biotechnology to improve animal and human health, according to the policy. Specifically, the Association supports the opportunity to use biotechnology for a variety of applications, including to benefit and protect public health and welfare, enhance host resistance to infectious diseases and eliminate genetic-based diseases, and produce improved animal medicinal products and diagnostic tools.
The committee said in the policy’s background that it is relevant and vitally needed, “especially with the current sociopolitical pressures elevating emotion and opinion over science in regards to genetic advancements associated with production paradigms.”
Both policies can be viewed at by clicking on “Knowledge Base” and selecting “Browse AVMA Policies.”