Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the benefit of the SMS Plan?

The benefit is realized in a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak when raw milk from healthy animals is able to move to processing. Preparing ahead of time rather than during the chaos of an outbreak benefits the animals and those involved in the dairy industry. Visit the Steps to Move page to learn more about preparing.

If the U.S. hasn't had a case of foot and mouth disease (FMD) since 1929, why do we need to spend time and effort preparing now?

There is always a risk of FMD being introduced into the U.S. due extensive international trade and travel. This highly contagious livestock disease is present in approximately two-thirds of the countries in the world. Research suggests an outbreak in the U.S. could result in losses of $15 to $100 billion. The U.S. Department of Agriculture values preparedness and has funded the Secure Milk Supply Plan to help producers prepare. Visit the Steps to Move page and start preparing today!

How much does it cost to prepare as recommended in the SMS Plan?

The cost varies depending on your level of preparedness. Preparedness is similar to insurance. There is a cost investment relative to the assets that need protection. It is hard to put an exact dollar value on it, but preparing before an outbreak could be a great investment. Visit the Steps to Move page to learn more about preparing.

  • Requesting a Premises Identification Number (PIN) is free.
  • Putting all of the biosecurity measures in place to keep foot and mouth disease (FMD) off of an operation can be expensive. However, writing an enhanced biosecurity plan ahead of time costs very little.
  • Free resources for training employees about biosecurity and surveillance are available.

What measures in the SMS Plan will be required by my processor, state, or the federal government?

The SMS Plan provides guidance only with opportunities to voluntarily prepare before a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. Each state can determine what guidance to use. Contact your State Animal Health Official to discuss what might be required in an outbreak.

My milk gets shipped to another state. Do all states follow the SMS Plan?

The SMS Plan was developed nationally and each state can determine what guidance to use. Contact your State Animal Health Official to discuss your milk movement needs and learn what might be required in an outbreak.

Do the biosecurity measures need to be audited?

Some States are conducting audits or pre-certification prior to a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. This may involve visiting the operation, reviewing the enhanced biosecurity plan, and discussing milk movement on and off the operation. Contact your State Animal Health Official to ask if auditing or pre-certification is being done.

Does the SMS Plan only apply to larger producers?

The SMS Plan, along with the Secure Beef and Secure Pork Supply Plans, apply to operations of any size.

Can one Premises Identification Number (PIN) be used for animals owned by the same person but housed in multiple locations?

PINs serve as a method of locating animals in a Control Area during an outbreak and are also included on movement permits. It is important that the PIN reflect the actual location of the animals (latitude, longitude). If you have multiple or adjoining locations with animals, contact your State Animal Health Official for guidance on how many PINs may be needed.

Are there Secure Food Supply Plans for other livestock?

Yes, there are Secure Food Supply Plans for beef cattle and pigs. The Secure Milk, Pork, and Beef Supply Plans were all developed together so recommendations are similar with species-specific differences where needed. More information is available on the Secure Beef Supply website and the Secure Pork Supply website.

Who is a Regulatory Official?

Regulatory Officials are local, state, tribal, and federal officials who have the authority and responsibility to respond to foreign animal disease outbreaks.

Where can I get more information about foot and mouth disease (FMD)?

Why aren't animals vaccinated now for foot and mouth disease (FMD), before an outbreak?

  • Watch the 8-minute FMD Vaccination video for that answer and much more information.
    • Effective FMD vaccines do exist, but they are strain specific (most strains require their own vaccine and do not cross-protect against infection from other strains, also known as subtypes).
    • There are many different strains of FMD circulating in the world and it is hard to predict with certainty which will enter into the United States.
  • Vaccinating for FMD has international trade repercussions, which would limit the ability of the United States to export.

Does FMD cause disease in people like it does in animals?

  • FMD is not a public health or food safety concern.
  • Meat and milk processed from FMD-infected animals is safe to eat and drink.
  • FMD virus is not the same virus that causes hand, foot, and mouth disease in humans.
  • More FMD information is available on the Disease Information page and on the Foot and Mouth Disease Info website.