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California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: CDFA Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462, steve.lyle@cdfa.ca.gov

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #19-019
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CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE TO HEAR UPDATES ON VIRULENT NEWCASTLE DISEASE AND DISCUSS WATER POLICY WITH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS

SACRAMENTO, March 28, 2019 -   The California State Board of Food and Agriculture will hear updates on key issues impacting farmers and ranchers related to Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) and water policy at its upcoming meeting on April 2, 2019. The meeting will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1220 N Street – Main Auditorium, Sacramento, CA 95814.

“Federal, State and local government collaboration is critical in addressing this outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease - a highly contagious poultry disease,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross.  “California has successfully eradicated this disease in the past and I'm optimistic that containment and eradication will be achieved."

Since May 2018, staff from the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been working in joint incident command to eradicate VND in Southern California. The highly contagious virus has resulted in the euthanasia of more than one million birds in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties.

VND is a nearly-always fatal infection in poultry that impacts their respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. Birds may seem healthy but will die within days of being infected.  Some can survive and become silent carriers of disease. There is no cure. The virus can also be carried on people’s clothes or shoes, and by equipment or vehicles that have been exposed to infected poultry.  While this is a serious poultry disease, it is not considered a significant human health threat.  People in close contact with infected birds can develop conjunctivitis (“pink eye”) or run a mild fever.  Properly cooked poultry meat and eggs remain safe to eat. 

In addition to the VND update, the Board will also hear from Administration Officials on water policy. Secretary Jared Blumenfeld, California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and Secretary Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Agency are scheduled to appear.

“Water issues continue to be at the forefront for California's farmers and ranchers,” said President Don Cameron, California State Board of Food and Agriculture. “We appreciate the continued engagement and collaboration of state officials in hearing perspectives from our stakeholders as well as understanding our continued commitment to sustainability and the environment."

Further topics of discussion for the Board include Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on-farm inspections and a regulatory compliance cost study on specialty crop production.

Invited speakers include: Secretary Jared Blumenfeld, California Environmental Protection Agency; Secretary Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Agency; Dr. Annette Jones, California Department of Food and Agriculture; Debbie Murdock, Pacific Egg and Poultry Association; David Will, Chino Valley Ranchers; Natalie Krout-Greenberg, California Department of Food and Agriculture; and Dr. Lynn Hamilton and Dr. Michael McCullough, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. 
 
The California State Board of Food and Agriculture advises the governor and CDFA secretary on agricultural issues and consumer needs. The Board conducts forums that bring together local, state and federal government officials; agricultural representatives; and citizens to discuss current issues and concerns to California agriculture.

All meetings are open to the public and attendance is welcome.

Follow the board on twitter at: www.twitter.com/Cafood_agboard




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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814
916-654-0462, www.cdfa.ca.gov