Do Your Part: Declare International Farm Visits to Customs

12:47PM Feb 14, 2020
Barcalona Airport
( )

Take the extra steps to do your part to protect the U.S. swine herd from foreign animal diseases. The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) encourages all travelers to remember these important practices when visiting farms in other countries, especially countries afflicted by African swine fever (ASF), classical swine fever (CSF) or foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

When returning to the U.S. after visiting a farm or being in contact with animals in a country (or countries) with foreign animal disease, declare this information to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) via written form, airport kiosk or verbally.

After doing so, you should be diverted for an ag secondary screening by an ag specialist, AASV shared in its newsletter. The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and AASV are asking all travelers to report their experience if they are not diverted for secondary screening with return to the U.S. following overseas travel.

If you are NOT diverted, SHIC executive director Paul Sundberg requests travelers to send the following information by email to [email protected]:

  • Your name (optional - please specify if you do NOT want your name shared)
  • Country (or countries) visited
  • Date and time of return
  • Airline and flight number
  • Arrival airport
  • Declaration method (written form, kiosk, or verbal)
  • Customs and Border Patrol employee name, if possible (displayed on right side of shirt)
  • Any other pertinent circumstances

Sundberg is aggregating this information and the organizations will share with CBP to help identify any weaknesses in their protocol and systems.

2019 Novel Coronavirus and International Travel
In addition, AASV informed members preparing to travel to the U.S. for the AASV's 51st Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Ga., to follow CDC guidelines regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.  

According to the CDC, the risk of COVID-19 in the U.S. is low. Imported cases in travelers have been detected in the U.S. Person-to-person transmission has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, China.

The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. The U.S. has implemented the following travel restrictions to people traveling from China:

1. Foreign nationals who have visited China in the past 14 days may not enter the United States.

2. American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their families who have been in China in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the United States, but will be redirected to one of 11 airports to undergo health screening. Depending on their health and travel history, they will have some level of restrictions on their movements for 14 days from the time they left China.

"It's important to remember that the risk of novel coronavirus infection is associated with recent travel to China, not with groups of people or certain ethnicities," AASV wrote. "As biosecurity is critical for animal health, infection prevention best practices are important for human health, too. Wash hands frequently, avoid travel and stay home if sick, and get an annual influenza vaccine as recommended by the CDC."

More from Farm Journal's PORK:

Here's What Makes Coronavirus and African Swine Fever Different

Traveling Abroad? 5 Ways You Can Protect the Pork Industry

Coronavirus Clampdown Causes Pork Prices in China to Rise