As many U.S. pork producers feed imported swine feed ingredients, including vitamins and soybean products from China where the African swine fever pandemic continues to grow, the Swine Health Information Center recognizes that responding to the potential threat these vectors for ASF transmission may bring to the U.S. swine herd is crucial. That's why the Center recently brought vitamin manufacturers and the soybean industry together for workshops at the University of Minnesota in April and July. At each event, the purpose was to discuss and better understand how imported vitamin and soybean products relate to disease transmission.
Participants at both workshops talked about ASF mitigation strengths and weaknesses in manufacturing as well as transportation of these feed ingredients. Representatives from the vitamin supply chain pointed out there is little risk from reputable companies able to discuss and answer the Questions to Ask Your Feed Supplier. The vitamin supply chain report includes a detailed listing of vitamin manufacturers in China and their web sites as well details on biosecurity procedures and third-party audits of many of these facilities. Stakeholders were also interested in soybean meal mitigation processes (both extracting and expelling) to inactivate the virus, with evaluation of efficacy of all mitigants and related processes required.
Workshop attendees were concerned about the high consequences of ASF or other FADs being discovered in the U.S., though both groups agreed the risk for ASF infection cannot yet be quantified. Participants in the workshops encouraged the development of diagnostic testing capability for feed and feed ingredients as well as a response plan to support monitoring of these products. Should ASF or another foreign animal disease be diagnosed in the U.S., a plan to assess and mitigate contamination within the feed supply chain is essential.
Attendees also recognized more information is needed on the amount of feed ingredients being imported from each country as well as their FAD status. The logistics of soy imports and exports need scrutiny as well, with contamination during transportation being a consideration.
A review of Canada’s approach to ASF control in the feed ingredient supply chain was presented during the soybean workshop. The Canadian government has developed and implemented a program with importation requirements as a result of their assessment of the risk of ASF virus transmission in grains, oil seeds and associated meals.
The soybean group discussed the potential risk factors in the U.S. soy supply chain being soybean hulls and transportation cross-contamination So, for soy products, a better understanding of logistics is needed. Importers of specialty soy products like organic soybean meal also need to be better informed about ASF risk and appropriate actions to prevent disease transmission. This includes biosecurity and pre-screening protocols for importers.
All documents from the workshops can be found on the SHIC website. Facilitating collaboration through organizing these workshops reflects SHIC’s mission to monitor and be prepared for emerging diseases, protecting U.S. swine herd health and producers’ livelihoods.