January 30, 2023
USPOULTRY: Education programme reinforces need for biosecurity plans in US feed facilities
The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) recently hosted a half-day educational programme in conjunction with this month's International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Georgia, the United States.
The programme offered more than 150 registered attendees a chance to hear from scientific experts on the latest spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and African swine fever (ASF) globally, as well as ways the feed and poultry industries can plug gaps now in their biosecurity programmes.
Dr. Louise Dufour-Zavala, executive director of the Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network, explained that the 2015 HPAI outbreak decreased during the summer months, but the virus continued to spread from farm-to-farm last year and is now mostly being spread from wildlife, including rodents, which may carry the virus on their feet.
Although a HPAI vaccine is available, it is complicated for poultry farmers to use them, given high costs and risks to US trade pacts. The best thing the agricultural community can do is reduce the number of HPAI cases in flocks and wildlife, so the risk of its spread diminishes. This can be done on farms and at feed mills by creating lines of separation for foot traffic, controlling visitors and animals, and properly disposing infected, depopulated birds.
Pedro Urriola, PhD, research assistant professor for the University of Minnesota, discussed the latest research on virus survivability in feed and said that research should be ongoing.
Cassandra Jones, PhD, professor at Kansas State University, echoed that one of the challenges with the ASF virus is that it is extraordinarily stable and able to prevent it from degradation in typical conditions. "[ASF] is like the armored tank of all viruses we have to work with," she said.
ASF is currently not in the United States, but entered the Western hemisphere in 2021, and the feed and swine industries have been working to improve their biosecurity programmes to guard against its entrance.
The US federal government, through the United States Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration, are also working to develop plans for how they would respond in the event of an outbreak.
Next year's IPPE will take place from January 30 to Februrary 1, 2024.