Pork disease impact lower than expected, says USMEF

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

The disease, which has been effecting US piglets, has not been as devasting to industry as expected
The disease, which has been effecting US piglets, has not been as devasting to industry as expected

Related tags Meat export federation Pork Wild boar Us Livestock

The impact of porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) on the US pork sector has not been as great as feared, US meat leaders have said.

Fears that the high mortality caused by the wasting disease in US piglets was likely to have a major impact on US hog production have failed to materialise to the extent expected, US Meat Export Federation’s John Brooks told GlobalMeatNews​ in Paris this week.

"For farms affected, it has been terrible, but generally, pork production is down by around 3-4%, so not as devastating as expected."

Speaking at the Sial trade show in Paris, he said the losses inflicted by the disease had been offset by a reduction in the cost of feed, leading to increased weights going through to slaughter. "There was an increase in weight of about 4%, so without that, volumes would have fallen by around 8%.

"Can you say it’s under control? We’ve still not worked out how the virus works, and there are issues over immunisation within the herd being passed on to one generation, but not the next."

He said that despite the amount of research going on, there was no resolution. "The virus is very difficult to study and grow in the lab,"​ he added, noting that while the number of instances of the condition was not going up, it was not going away either. "We can’t say it’s over."

US producers will now be braced for the winter, as the virus appears to thrive in cold conditions. However, Brook said increased vigilance and much stronger biosecurity on US hog farms should help reduce the risk of the virus spreading further.

The disease has also had no impact on US pork exports, Brook added, with people still happy to buy the country’s products. "Exports are actually up, so there has been no impact on trade,"​ he said.

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