Food Safety & Human Health

Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) is not a threat to food safety or human health, according to the USDA, FDA, CDC and World Health Organization (WHO). Although cattle ranchers and dairy farmers work hard to prevent FMD, it would be safe to eat meat or drink milk from an animal with FMD. That’s because the disease cannot infect humans.

The disease only affects animals with cloven (or divided) hooves, so FMD does not present a food safety issue. As always, it’s important to employ USDA’s safe handling and cooking methods with all foods, like cooking meat products to the correct temperature and washing hands thoroughly after handling raw meat. 

Pet Safety

FMD does not affect pets like dogs, cats and birds. FMD only affects animals with cloven (or divided) hooves like cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and deer. 

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Economic Impacts

Find out how FMD may impact your bottom line.

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Monitoring + Prevention

Find out how farmers and ranchers are working with professionals to avoid an FMD outbreak.

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Frequently Asked Questions

According to the USDA, FDA, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), FMD is not a threat to food safety or human health. It is safe to consume meat and milk. 
FMD is spread most easily between live animals, via air and secretions. However, the disease can also survive long distances and spread to animals via products, clothes, shoes, furniture, vehicles, farming equipment and more.   For example, if an infected animal sneezed on the farmer while he was tending to the animal, the disease could survive for a long period of time on the farmer’s shirt. If the farmer then visited a friend’s ranch and interacted with animals, wearing the same shirt, it’s possible that he could infect animals at his friend’s ranch.
FMD can negatively impact the food supply due to decreased industry production. If an FMD outbreak reduced the amount of meat and milk that’s produced, you might pay more for these products at grocery stores and restaurants. Learn more in the Economic Impacts section.