US pork producers advised over feed ingredients amid swine fever outbreak

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Efforts are being made by the pork industry to tackle ASF
Efforts are being made by the pork industry to tackle ASF

Related tags: Pork

The US National Pork Board (NPB) has advised pork producers to take action on feed ingredients to protect domestic herds from foreign animal diseases (FADs).

It said the ongoing outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in China and other countries have focused the pork industry on tackling FADs.

One new practice designed to reduce disease transmission risk involves knowing exactly how long certain feed ingredients have been securely stored before allowing use on pig farms.

It said that research had shown it is possible for swine disease viruses to survive in shipments of certain feed ingredients during transoceanic shipping to US ports and even to inland points of feed manufacture.

Based on this research it said that a holding time of 78 days after the date of manufacture and bagging or sealing will degrade 99.99% of viral contamination. The holding time extends to 286 days for soybean meal.

Working with your feed supplier to get this type of information is yet another way to help protect your pigs from potential infection from a foreign animal disease​,” said Dave Pyburn, DVM, senior vice president of science and technology for the NPB.

It’s just one more tool in our arsenal against ASF and other diseases that we hope will offer US producers more protection against this growing global threat​.”

The feedstuffs studied that have shown the potential to support virus survival include conventional soybean meal, DDGS, lysine hydrochloride, choline chloride, vitamin D, pork sausage casings, dry and moist dog food, organic soybean meal, soy oil cake, moist cat food, and porcine-based ingredients.

However, it said that without an organised surveillance program, pathogenic swine viruses were not being identified in imported feedstuffs.

It’s clear from the research that certain feed ingredients can support viral survival during conditions modelled after either trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific shipping to US ports​,” said Paul Sundberg, DVM, director of the Swine Health Information Center.

Based on these findings, we think it’s prudent that the entire US pork industry look at this research and consider taking action to help us prevent a FAD from entering this country through this route​.”

In a related area of disease prevention, the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Swine Health Information Center have also recommend that producers talk to their feed suppliers to get information about the facility’s biosecurity program to minimise the spread of pathogens from people, vehicles and ingredients.

It also suggested they asked for more information on the facility’s employee training, pest control, traceability, supplier approval as well as asking about third-party certification and whether ingredients are used from outside the US.

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) said it believes that additional research is needed in the area of feed ingredients.  

It issued a note of caution and said that while the pork organisations’ have outlined when mitigants should be applied from feed ingredients from foreign countries there is currently no approved mitigants for virus reduction.

AFIA said the effectiveness of mitigants are still unknown over the suggested duration of use or holding times, as well as the impact on product degradation.

As part of its crisis management team, AFIA said it had been working with its public charity, the Institute for Feed Education and Research, to look for opportunities to fund additional research into the issue. 

Related topics: Meat

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