The USDA has temporarily prohibited the importation of animal and animal products from the European Union. This move broadens the import ban originally imposed on Feb. 21 against the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
The USDA instituted the import ban after the confirmation that the disease had spread to France. Additional measures in place to protect the U.S. from this economically damaging disease include:
- Travelers are prohibited from bringing any agricultural products into the U.S. Travelers are required to identify any farm contact to Customs and USDA officials. And all baggage is subject to inspection. Violations carry a penalty of up to $1,000.
- The USDA has sent a team of 40 experts to the European Union to monitor, evaluate and assist in containment of the disease.
- Heightened alerts at all ports of entry and airports to ensure passengers, luggage and cargo are checked.
- Coordination with state agriculture officials and USDA officials stationed around the world to closely monitor the situation.
- A public education campaign that includes additional signs at airports, public service announcements, an information hotline, a Web site with information for travelers at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/travel/
and other tools to help inform the public about the steps they can take to prevent the disease from entering the U.S.