African swine fever is creating major changes in global livestock feed ingredient and food trade. U.S. pork producers feed imported swine feed ingredients, including vitamins and soybean products, from China where the ASF pandemic continues to grow. Responding to the potential threat posed to U.S. swine herd health by these imported ingredients, which may be vectors for ASF transmission, the Swine Health Information Center brought vitamin manufacturers and the soybean industry together for workshops 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. By conducting these events at the University of Minnesota, SHIC is facilitating engagement intended to prevent ASF introduction into the U.S. via imported feed ingredients.
All documents from the workshops can be found on the SHIC website at www.swinehealth.org. 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.
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 posted on the SHIC website. 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 very 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 are 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 encourage 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 know 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.