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For more on Foot-and-Mouth Disease visit:
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SPECIAL REPORT: Foot-and-Mouth Disease

If foot-and-mouth-disease (also known as hoof-and-mouth) has you concerned about the safety of your meat, you're not alone. The Centers for Disease Control defines foot-and-mouth disease as a severe, highly contagious viral disease affecting wild and domestic animals, which primarily affects cattle and pigs, but can also occur in sheep, deer, and other cloven-hoofed animals. Though humans aren't susceptible to the disease, we can easily be carriers, which is why regulations have been heightened for travelers returning from European countries affected by the disease.

Dr. Lester Crawford, DVM, PhD, a veterinarian and food safety specialist, is also a member of FoodFit's Advisory Board. Dr. Crawford, the Director of the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Georgetown University, shared his perspective on the recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease:

"This is a devastating disease of livestock, affecting cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and other domestic animals as well…Fortunately, it is not a public health threat. The US Department of Agriculture successfully rid this country of foot-and-mouth disease in 1929 and we have been free of the disease ever since. It is likely that this will continue to be the case, but the efforts of the Agriculture Department should be uniformly supported, because without continuing vigilance, foot-and-mouth could become a problem here."

While the United States government does its best to keep foot-and-mouth disease from affecting our food supply, you can ensure that the foods you cook at home are safe to eat. Use our Cook it Safe Calculator to find out how long to cook different animal products. To find out more about keeping your kitchen safe and healthy, check out our food safety section.

We've compiled a list of links to help you navigate the sea of information on current food safety issues. Various governmental agencies have provided valuable information on mad cow disease as well as foot-and-mouth disease. Check back with us for the latest look at developments in food safety and nutrition.

Food and Drug Administration
BSE: Background, Current Concerns and Recent Reports
http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/bse.html

United States Department of Agriculture
News Release: Foot-and-Mouth Disease
http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/2001/03/0044.htm

Centers for Disease Control
Background on Foot-and-Mouth Disease
http://www.cdc.gov/foot_mouth.htm

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