Swine industry collaborating on ASF plan of attack

Collaboration can help to address concerns about potential risk associated with feed and feed component imports.

August 27, 2018

4 Min Read
Swine industry collaborating on ASF plan of attack
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Source: American Association of Swine Veterinarians
U.S. pork industry organizations have developed a list of actions that could help prevent and then, if needed, respond to an African swine fever incursion. They have been shared with the USDA, and collaborative work and further discussion about them is ongoing. Prevention initiatives are prioritized because of urgency above response initiatives. With the best information currently available, and until more is learned, extreme caution should be taken when considering hosting someone on U.S. farms from an ASF-, or another foreign animal disease-, positive region of the world.

If it is needed, the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on Plum Island requires a five-day downtime for anyone planning to have contact with susceptible species after working with diseases and animals on the island.

The industry organizations and USDA agree that prevention could be enhanced by Customs and Border Protection and Plant Protection and Quarantine ensuring flights from China and Russia get enhanced passenger and cargo inspection attention. The USDA has made a request to that effect to the CBP. Sampling and monitoring of imported products that might pose a risk of ASF transmission is also being considered.

Related:ASF cases mount in China

Collaboration can help to address concerns about potential risk associated with feed and feed component imports. Research conducted by Scott Dee, et al., has shown that certain feedstuffs are able to support ASF during a simulated trans-Pacific shipment. A validated method to test bulk feed products and applying it to monitoring shipments for pathogen contamination has been funded by the Swine Health Information Center and is currently being researched. Also, currently being researched with results expected soon are feed pathogen mitigation options. Feed additives, component holding time and temperature before processing, Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls and blockchain are being investigated with urgency.


FAD resources from Pork Checkoff and other industry partners
What to do If You Suspect a Foreign Animal Disease
SHIC Global Disease Monitoring Reports
Foreign Animal Disease Resources
FAD Preparation Checklist for Producers
Hosting International Visitors on Your Farm
Traveling Overseas Biosecurity Fact Sheet
USDA Disease Response Strategy: African Swine Fever
African Swine Fever Fact Sheet
U.S. Pork Industry Guide to the Secure Pork Supply Plan
Secure Pork Supply Website
FAD Resource Packet with Posters


The USDA Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health’s Risk Identification Unit is monitoring diseases around the world, including China. Increased, regular communication through contact or reports is another action that could enhance prevention through raising awareness. This provides a vehicle for two-way communication to provide information from industry sources to RIU and for RIU to provide the most up-to-date information they have back to industry.

The Swine Health Protection Act gives USDA-APHIS regulatory authority for compliance inspections for licensed food waste feeders and searches for non-licensed waste feeding facilities. The organizations are sharing their request for increased inspections and searches.

The inspection and compliance processes for imported pork casings and other food products is another topic of discussion. While USDA does not allow the import of casings originating in ASF-positive regions, the risk of U.S.-origin casings that have been sorted in China and returned to the United States is being considered. Evaluation of all imports coming from China to assess their potential to be used in the pork supply chain is under way. An updated risk assessment for ASF entry into the United States from China, including prioritizing risk from those products identified, needs to be developed.

Response initiatives include a survey of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network for their surge capacity should the industry need ASF testing to identify issues or shortcomings. USDA is already conducting the survey.

A project to validate a polymerase chain reaction test for ASF — and foot-and-mouth disease and classical swine fever — on oral fluids has been under way for over a year. Only whole blood is currently validated for ASF surveillance via PCR testing. Diagnostic capabilities need to be updated, and response capability needs to be able to be applied at the herd level.

ASF-specific emergency response exercises are being planned, including allied industry, NAHLN and state and federal animal health officials’ participation. Response and communication coordination with Canada and Mexico are additional items being discussed and have already been initiated by USDA.

ASF control in China will be extremely difficult, if even possible. The Chinese pork industry has had difficulties in controlling FMD and CSF and has relied heavily on the use of vaccines. As a vaccine is not available for ASF, the industry is thus reliant on heightened biosecurity, rapid diagnosis, complete isolation, and then elimination of infected pigs and contaminated materials. U.S. plans for prevention and response have to be considered to be long-term adjustments to the biosecurity of our national herd.


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