The U.S. Grains Council has strengthened biosecurity safeguards for overseas travelers and USGC-led trade teams in recognition of the severity and spread of African swine fever virus.
As part of this updated protocol, no USGC-led or -organized teams will visit swine farms or operations in the United States in 2019, and teams from confirmed ASF-affected countries will not visit any type of U.S. livestock operation.
Travelers will still be able to meet with livestock companies in appropriate settings to discuss livestock production and feeding practices.
“The African swine fever virus is not in the United States and, as world trade ambassadors, the Council is taking precautions to limit exposure,” says Tom Sleight, USGC president and chief executive officer.
The National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council have fully detailed biosecurity guidelines for pork industry-related international travel, which informed the Council’s updated protocols along with the need be proactive in limiting transmission of the African swine fever virus and other diseases. The updated USGC protocols limit risk while still enabling the Council to work to build international markets for U.S. feed grains and co-products.
“The Council has a strict protocol in place for all our international teams, including sanitary and quarantine measures,” Sleight says. “We take this situation very seriously and we have been working closely with our friends at the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board on awareness and protocols.”
The Council is providing information on biosecurity protocols to all USGC-sponsored travelers before they travel as well as issuing and ensuring use of appropriate disinfectant and barrier plastics during visit locations as required, especially disposal boots or shoe coverings. Other protocols are to include the following:
- For five days immediately prior to travel, avoid all contact with farm animals, marketing facilities, zoos, fairs/exhibitions or other sites where livestock are kept.
- Wash or dry clean all clothing articles before packing for travel. Wear clean clothes that have not been near livestock, wildlife or other animals within five days prior to travel.
- To the extent possible, disinfect other possessions before embarking on travel to the United States. Team members should be advised to wipe down glasses, jewelry, watches, belts, hats, cell phones, purses, luggage, etc.
- Do not to wear or bring shoes and/or boots that have been used on or around livestock facilities in country of origin. If this is not practical or possible, travelers must assure that a minimum of 10 days have elapsed immediately prior to travel before wearing or packing shoes/boots that have been used on farms or around livestock facilities in country of origin. In either case, shoes and boots should be cleaned and disinfected.
- Don’t carry food or other prohibited items to the United States.
- Upon arrival in the United States, make a customs declaration related to contact with farms/ranches or any other sites where animals or livestock are kept.
- Comply with specific biosecurity procedures at each visit site. Wear protective clothing and/or barrier plastics (coats/boots) provided by the Council or the host. Leave behind and/or dispose of protective clothing or barrier plastics at the end of each visit.