May 13, 2019
Use of feed from China to feed US pigs raises concerns of swine fever infections
Animal feed from China are being used to feed pigs in the US, stoking fears that the African swine fever (ASF) disease could enter the country, CNBC reported.
"Feedstuffs can carry [the ASF disease], and one of our concerns is we bring in vitamins and trace minerals for our pork industry from manufacturers in China," said Steve Meyer, an industry expert with Kerns & Associates in Iowa. "If you get the virus in those things, they can survive for a while."
For example, Meyer said the so-called organic soybean meal - known for its high protein content - is shipped from China and typically fed to organic livestock, including to hogs. Currently, the US and Canada do not suspend imports of plant-based food from China which is currently battling an ASF epidemic. However, some experts had called for at least 20 days of quarantine on imported feed before using it.
The US government had announced enhanced measures to prevent the disease from entering the domestic livestock supply, including a renewed focus on "strict on-farm biosecurity" measures and other steps. That includes new teams of specially trained detector dogs to sniff out illegal feedstuffs being brought in to airports and seaports.
"We've never had this disease here in the United States, we don't ever want to have this disease," said Dr. Dave Pyburn, a veterinarian and vice president of science and technology at the industry trade group National Pork Board. "If we were to get it, it would be devastating for our pigs."
China made up for about 12% of soybean meal the US brought in from outside the country last year, according to WISERTrade, a Massachusetts-based trade research organisation.