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Foot and Mouth Disease - Information for travellers

Import policies

Import of used equipment and things from non-designated countries

Preventive measures against the entry of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) into Canada

Strict measures are in place to prevent FMD from entering Canada. For example, live animals are subject to comprehensive import controls. Only cooked, commercially prepared, hermetically sealed meat is allowed into Canada from countries that have FMD.

Travellers entering Canada are required to declare all foods, plants, animals and their products to a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer. The CBSA plays a key role in protecting food safety, animal health, and the environment by screening travellers to make sure they understand the risk of importing inadmissible products and to ensure that they are complying with Canadian requirements. Border services officers also use specially trained detector dog teams in all major airports to seek out concealed food, plant, and animal products.

Definition of an FMD-infected country

Any country that has at least one confirmed case of FMD would be considered infected. (Countries that are recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as being free of FMD)

Canada's policy on travel from FMD-infected countries for people and animals

People and their pets are free to travel, as long as they take appropriate precautions as recommended by the CFIA

Livestock and animal products such as fresh meat, embryos, semen, milk products, wool, hides and skins from susceptible species may not move from FMD-infected countries to Canada unless they have been processed in order to destroy the FMD virus.

Although domestic pets are not susceptible to FMD, the CFIA recommends taking precautions for pets travelling with you from a FMD-infected country. Once you return to Canada, wash your pet thoroughly with shampoo or soap and water to eliminate any virus that may be carried on it.

Precautions to follow when traveling in an FMD-infected country

The CFIA recommends that you:

If you visited a farm while abroad, make sure that the clothing and footwear you wore during your visit are free from soil or manure. Clean and disinfect your footwear. Dry cleaning of clothes is recommended.

Disinfecting your belongings

To disinfect your clothes, you can machine wash them in hot water, or have them dry cleaned. To clean and disinfect footwear and other items, you can soak the items in the following solutions:

When followed closely, these disinfection procedures are sufficient to kill the FMD virus.

CFIA's additional actions to minimize the risk of bringing FMD into Canada

The CFIA is monitoring the status of FMD worldwide and is working with other federal departments, provincial veterinary authorities, and industry to exchange information and raise awareness, as well as providing the public with information through its website.

How FMD is spread

FMD is highly contagious. The virus can be spread to healthy livestock through:

Possibility of contracting FMD

As a general rule, this disease is not transmissible to humans. However, rare transmission to humans has occurred and resulted in blisters on hands from manipulating infected animals or inside the mouth from drinking infected milk. FMD should not be confused with a human disease called hand, foot, and mouth disease. You should consult your local health authority or your physician if you have any specific concerns.

Bringing food products back from an FMD-infected country while traveling

The CFIA will allow entry into Canada only those products that have been subjected to an approved processing method. You must declare all food products upon arrival in Canada. As a general rule, meat and dairy products will not be allowed from an FMD infected country, but foods that are cooked, shelf stable, commercially prepared and hermetically sealed may be permitted.

Consequences of failing to declare such products in your possession

The CBSA can impose penalties of up to $400 on the spot if prohibited or restricted items are not declared. Individuals who are caught smuggling such items will have the product seized and could face further enforcement actions ranging from fines to prosecution in the criminal courts. False declarations to the CBSA are also punishable by law.

Traveling requirement for farmers: adhere to the 5-day quarantine

Contact with farm animals is not recommended for 5 days when strict personal decontamination measures are applied to clothing and footwear upon your return. If you are travelling to an FMD-infected country and returning to your farm, the CFIA's recommendations on cleaning and disinfection should be strictly followed.

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