Unlike traditional vaccines, mRNA can be designed swiftly, manufactured quickly at a lower cost, and produced in a more standardized manner.

Compiled by staff

February 26, 2024

2 Min Read
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The National Pork Producers Council recently met with members of the Tennessee legislature on issues related to the use of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine technology in animal agriculture. Currently, there are nearly two dozen bills in 10 states that would either require labels for meat from vaccinated animals, allow “mRNA-free” labels for unvaccinated animals, or ban the use of mRNA vaccines entirely.

In meetings with leadership of Tennessee Senate and House committees, NPPC’s Director of Food Policy Ashley Johnson and Director of State Policy Drew Beardslee, as well as NPPC member Seth Krantz, veterinarian for Tosh Farms, affirmed the safety and efficacy of mRNA technology and raised concerns about labeling. Also in attendance were Tennessee Pork Producers Association Executive Director Phyllis Ferguson and representatives from Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture, the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Tennessee Farm Bureau.

NPPC supports using vaccine technologies, such as mRNA vaccines, as a tool for combating endemic and foreign animal diseases. Recently, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture approved policies supporting mRNA vaccine technology in livestock.

Access to approved vaccine technologies

The NASDA policy amendment supports farmers and ranchers’ ability to safeguard animal health through the responsible use of vaccines. Members also emphasized the importance of utilizing vaccines that have undergone a thorough approval and licensing process by the USDA and FDA, ensuring a robust foundation of scientific and peer-reviewed research.

“Our farmers and ranchers must have the ability to safeguard animal health against foreign and emerging disease. Vaccines developed and researched through an approved, scientific and regulatory process are a tool helping producers to accomplish that,” NASDA CEO Ted McKinney said. “NASDA prioritizes the wellbeing of livestock and public health, and we must ensure farmers and ranchers have access to approved mRNA vaccines to ensure the health of their animals and provide a safe and resilient food supply.”

NASDA supports a robust federal approval and review process for any new vaccine or other animal health tool that can be used to protect the domestic livestock industry from existing or emerging foreign or domestic animal disease outbreaks, safeguarding livestock and public health. Currently, no mRNA vaccines are approved for administration to animals in the U.S. even though one RNA vaccine has been licensed for use in swine. Research and scientific review of mRNA vaccines in livestock is crucial to provide livestock producers with access to all approved and available technologies.

In their latest Capital Report, NPPC noted, "Vaccines are critical to preserving animal health and well-being, keeping the food supply safe, and protecting U.S. livestock from emerging and foreign animal diseases. Additionally, mRNA vaccines, unlike traditional vaccines, can be designed swiftly, manufactured quickly at a lower cost, and produced in a more standardized manner – with fewer production errors – which can improve responsiveness to pathogen outbreaks."

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