On July 22, 2015, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testified before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture and addressed the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) latest efforts regarding Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
At the hearing, Vilsack stated that USDA was working to produce a vaccine to combat the spread of HPAI. According to the Secretary, a seed strain vaccination has been developed, and the vaccine has proven to be 100% effective when tested on chickens. Though Vilsack did not provide a timeline for the availability, he did state that the vaccine was currently being tested on turkeys and if proven effective, would hopefully be ready for production in the near future.
Relatedly, the Secretary stated that USDA was working on efforts to ensure that U.S. trading partners would not penalize future exports if a vaccine is employed. Vilsack suggested that any foreign ban on U.S. poultry products could be limited regionally (where the vaccine is used) and not nationally.
To view Secretary Vilsack’s testimony, please click here.
Written by M. Sean High - Staff Attorney
July 22, 2015