Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

What if you've been more or less in the "country" but not on farms -- need to be dipped in bleach?

What if you've been more or less in the "country" but not on farms -- need to be dipped in bleach?

Apr 7th, 2001, 06:03 PM
  #1  
cmt
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
What if you've been more or less in the "country" but not on farms -- need to be dipped in bleach?

When you return to the USA from Europe, are you now asked whether you've been in the "country" or just whether you've been on "farms"? (I think there's a standard question on the customs form asking whether you've been on a farm.) If the question now focuses on "country" does anyone explain what's meant by "country"? (I.e. is it anything and everything other than cities and major towns and walking on concrete, and would it include being in little town and walking on dirt roads on the outskirts?) Do the Ag. people disinfect all your shoes or just the ones you're wearing? Do they spray or dip your other clothes and "things"? Does anyone check your pockets for "country dirt? Does it make any difference if in the particular "countryside" you've been in only sheep and goats and pigs are raised, not beef cattle? (I think these animals are just as susceptible to hoof & mouth, but not to mad cow.)

There are two threads on this topic, but this specific question ( i.e. what's "countryside" as distinct from "farms" and what precautions are taken as a result of such in-between vacation activity) is not quite addressed.
 
Apr 8th, 2001, 05:54 AM
  #2  
xxx
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Has anyone had experience with this situation coming from Italy?
 
Apr 8th, 2001, 05:59 AM
  #3  
xxx
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
This thread has popped to the top, and it says that now it has one response, yet where is it? Never-ending computer voodoo on this forum.
 
Apr 8th, 2001, 06:18 AM
  #4  
Rex
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Carol,

It's a little bit hard to believe that you are serious with this question, but I will try to envision the situation which causes you to genuinely worry about this problem.

Perhaps you live in an area where your neighbors raise cows, pigs or sheep, and you just want to make sure that you are not the one person that brings FMD back to America.

There is no FMD in Italy. But let's suppose that an outbreak occurs. And it's in the same region you are visiting. And you go out walking in the woods where deer might have tracked dirt from an infected farm onto the same footpaths where you are walking.

I recommend that you take tennis shoes that can be thoroughly washed for any such walking. They should be white or old, and you're not worried about how they will look if washed and bleached. When you are done with your walks in the woods, scrub those shoes carefully with an old toothbrush and plenty of running water, with soap. Take gallon-size zip-lock bags to store those shoes in your suitcase until you get home. Wash them in your washing machine with Clorox. If there are deer that walk across your yard, and subsequently on into the farms of your neighbors, do not wear those shoes in your yard for the next year or so. Or maybe just incinerate them.

If you take all these steps, I think your conscience will be fine if you answer the questions about being in the country with a simple "no".

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Apr 8th, 2001, 06:43 AM
  #5  
cmt
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Above response is not helpful (except to the extent that it serves to "top" the thread).

Has anyone had any personal experience recently with the questions asked upon return to the USA and what the official reaction is to the person having been in "country" as opposed to "farm"? Someone on another thread said that he got the full treatment after returning from an agriturismo stay in Italy. To the best of my knowledge, the customs or agriculture people ask where you HAVE BEEN in Europe, not whether you WILL be going near livestock areas in the USA. (But if the latter question were asked, I'd have to say "yes".)

I am not seeking advice on what personal precautions I might take on my own initiative, just for information on the precise experience in the airport for incoming travlers who've been in the "iffy" areas described in my original question.
 
Apr 8th, 2001, 07:00 AM
  #6  
Rex
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Why would you have to say "yes"? I don't think that they take each traveler one by one and ask grilling questions to see if you will "break".

They're not simply taking a census, you know of who has been where. their job is to help you make sure you don't inadvertently spread this disease. If you are sure that you (or more importantly, your shoes) have not been in places where virus particles might be coming back with you, why would you answer "yes"?

And if you ARE going to be in areas wher you might have virus particles on your shoes, then my answer was 100% serious, and intended purely and entirely to be helpful.

Do you indeed live near farmers? What exactly are you concerned about?
 
Apr 8th, 2001, 11:36 AM
  #7  
Gretchen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Yes, I have had recent experience. When you return the Dof Ag. agents ask if you have been in the countryside--if so, you are pulled to one side for further questions. One person had been to the English countryside and had put her shoes in a plastic bag to show/give to the agents. I assume they disinfected them. We were in Paris for our trip so no action was needed. We declared the foie gras and cheese we were bringing back with no problem. There is an extra x-ray check for the Ag dept. area.
 
May 2nd, 2001, 09:37 PM
  #8  
c
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Did anyone else have an experience to report?
 
May 3rd, 2001, 03:02 PM
  #9  
b
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Just to clarify, FMD virus can indeed be carried on the wind, and can survive in your nasal passages for a number of hours. I think you should call the USDA or APHIS or customs to get the very specific answers you want.
 
May 3rd, 2001, 08:58 PM
  #10  
Leslie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We returned on 4/17/01 from Italy and went through customs at JFK in New York. The Customs Declaration that you fill out on the plane and hand to the customs agent on the ground asks (all in one long sentence) whether you are bringing any food, plants, fruits, vegetables in with you OR if you have been on a 'farm.' It does not specifically ask anything about the 'countryside.' No questions about destinations were asked when we arrived in Italy either. I circled the "on the farm" portion and answered yes as we had stayed at an agriturismo. This prompted the first agent to point us to another who asked what kinds of animals were on that farm..when I said "horses" he asked what shoes we had worn..we pointed to our feet and so he asked us to remove our shoes for cleaning. We asked if he was going to use bleach and he said, "No, we have something better than that now." After sitting 5 minutes (during which time we observed a pathetic old man get in BIG trouble for lying about fruit in his luggage) our shoes were returned to us in plastic bags, with slightly wet laces but otherwise fine. This is certainly nothing to worry about...unless of course you lie to a Customs agent or Dept. of Ag. agent which is a very bad thing! If you have doubts, just tell them where you have been and let them decide if they care. You really need to think of this as a simple matter of doing your honest part to prevent the import of H and M disease to the US. Go to that farm or that coutry trail, have fun, and then do the right thing when you return. (Note: some friends of ours only wore cheap shoes on the farm and threw them away before boarding their return flight...I bit excessive but another option).
 
May 4th, 2001, 03:57 AM
  #11  
paster
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
US Gov. Foot and Mouth Fact Sheet



Author: Ed ([email protected])
Date: 5/03/2001, 11:23 am ET

Message: Looks like the fact sheet is too big for Fodors to handle properly. I've placed a copy on my website at www.twenj.com/fmdfacts.htm

The information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is
being shared with Americans traveling overseas so they may be informed of
the steps necessary to help prevent the introduction of foot-and-mouth
disease (FMD) into the United States. While FMD rarely affects humans, it
can cause death or permanent disability in the animals it affects, and can
cause severe losses in the production of meat and milk.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 
May 5th, 2001, 06:25 AM
  #12  
cmt
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Leslie, thanks for your detailed account. I think your advice re describing exactly where I've been and letting the agents decide is good. I was afraid of having my person sprayed with something toxic, and was unwilling to be subjected to that, although I also didn't want to lie and be a menace to NJ agriculture. (My idea of "toxic" includes so-called harmless things like Lysol, room deodorizers, artist's fixative, etc., which bother me a lot.)
 
Jul 15th, 2001, 08:27 PM
  #13  
cmt
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
In case anyone's interested, this was my experience a month ago when I returned from 2 1/2 weeks in Basilicata, where I did NOT stay on farms, but I WAS near hooved animals--fairly near cows and goats, and just inches away from a few horses and many oxen.

I landed in Newark. There were signs all over advising that we must fill out the customs declaration truthfully with regard to farm visits, contact with animals and bringing food. But the form asked whether we'd been on a farm or whether we were carrying in food; it did NOT ask whether we'd been near animals. I assumed that the agriculture reps. would ask that question, and I was ready to answer yes, since I'd been inches away from a few horses and many oxen. But no one asked at all. VERY, VERY LAX. I think they SHOULD have asked. However, I don't think there was any H&M disease where I was on my vacation.

P.S. Last year I did stay one night at an agriturismo place. But it was a farm that primarily grew hazelnuts and chestnuts. I would need to say "yes" to the farm question because of a brief stay near hazelnut trees, but there's no official concern re spending time around oxen and maybe stepping in the results of their last meal? Strange.








 
Jul 15th, 2001, 10:22 PM
  #14  
Leslie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I agree, they don't really ask the right question on the form to get at the info. they need...but I don't think the form has been updated specific to H & M disease and hooved animals. These are the same questions they've been asking for years and the focus has been on import of plant materials, fruits, etc. that might carry plant diseases or insects. But then, I guess, the efficiency of the US Govt. is the subject of some other forum somewhere.
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:11 PM.