Page 9 - Australian Pork Newspaper
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New African swine fever
research – from China to
US in feed ingredients?
Survey reveals UK consumers want ban on all ‘illegal’ food products after Brexit
DR Scott Dee, director of research and devel- opment with Pipestone Veterinary Services based in Pipestone, Min- nesota, US, presented new research about the ability of African swine fever virus to move from continent to continent in contaminated feed at the North American PRRS Symposium.
Dr Dee’s research is di- rectly linked to his team’s 2014 studies on porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus as he and his team were deciphering how PED had entered the US – a virus that, prior to the 2013 out- break, had never before been in North America.
“We started looking in mills and finding bags of feed ingredients from China,” Dr Dee said.
“Scientists had said the virus most likely came from China, based on fin- gerprinting so to speak.
“We started thinking, ‘Could it be possible that this virus, PED, entered the US via contaminated feed ingredients from China?’ and we set up a model to test that.”
Dr Dee’s 2014 PED research model clearly showed certain feed ingre- dients supported the PED virus very well through a simulated journey from Beijing to Shanghai to San Francisco, California to Des Moines, Iowa.
In his recent research, he wanted to see if other viruses could survive that journey as well.
“We developed a model that had representative transport time, repre- sentative environmental conditions – a timetable from place to place that matched up – as well as ingredients we bring in from China,” Dr Dee said.
“We kind of made a CSI, if you look at it that way, to understand if viruses could actually move, other than PED, from Asia to the US.
“Clearly, African swine fever, in my opinion, could easily do that based on our data.”
With the assistance of South Dakota State Uni- versity and Kansas State University and funding provided by the Nation- al Pork Board’s Swine Health Information Cent- er, Dee’s research stud- ied 12 viruses, some of which are OIE notifiable diseases.
“We looked at 12 vi- ruses – PED being one, African swine fever being another; we also looked at surrogates for foot and mouth disease virus,” Dr Dee said.
It is important to note the research was done as a simulation.
However, the Chinese have found African swine fever virus in feed in China.
As the outbreak grows in China, the risk of con- tamination of pig feed in- gredients goes up.
“Very few people realise the US imports two mil- lion metric tons of agri- cultural products a year from China,” Dr Dee said.
“Grains, meat products, vitamins, amino acids,
antibiotics – the list goes on and on.
“It’s amazing what global trade has done in the recent past to kind of make a spider web almost around the world.”
When asked if those in- gredients coming into the US are now being tested for African swine fever virus, Dr Dee said USDA is not currently testing any Chinese products for the virus at this time.
“The USDA has not al- lowed testing to be a rou- tine procedure, but you never know – they might start sampling certain batches in an experimen- tal sense, which I think is a good idea,” he said.
“My concern is it’s go- ing to take a lot of sam- ples before you might find the one positive batch.
“I think this is kind of a needle in the haystack situation.”
From journey to trans- mission
As Dr Dee noted, his team’s research showed through modelling that ASF virus could survive
the journey from China via feed ingredient or sev- eral ingredients to North America.
The next step is looking at transmission of the vi- rus from feed ingredients to pigs.
Dr Megan Niederw- erder, assistant professor at the College of Veteri- nary Medicine at Kansas State University, present- ed research in conjunction with Dr Dee’s presenta- tion on that topic.
“Megan’s doing a great job with her team to show that yes, the virus could be transmitted through feed to pigs,” Dr Dee said.
“Her results are under review of a peer-review publication so I have to be careful what I say.
“It was amazing how well our data on transport segued into her data on transmission.
“That’s like connecting the dots.
“We’ve never managed to get that far yet, so my congratulations to her.”
Originally published at
AS festive foie gras filled the supermarket shelves, a new poll from the UK’s RSPCA revealed two- thirds of people wanted a post-Brexit ban on the import of animal products that are illegal to produce in the UK.
Traditional foie gras is made from the livers of ducks or geese that have been force-fed, a practice considered cruel by the RSPCA and other animal welfare organisations, and the UK’s laws already prohibit it from being pro- duced there.
But Brits are concerned that products like foie gras, and eggs from hens kept in barren battery cages, which were banned in the UK in 2012, still make their way into UK supermarkets, restaurants and delicatessens.
The poll, carried out by YouGov, showed 67 percent of the public want these sorts of prod- ucts banned from being brought into the country.
The move could also be great news for Brit- ish farmers to ensure their products are not undercut by lower-welfare imports from abroad.
RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles said,
“Our YouGov research shows most people want imports of lower-welfare food such as foie gras to be outlawed.”
“If the method of mak- ing a product is so unac- ceptable that producing it here is banned, then sure- ly importing that prod- uct from another country should be illegal too.
“Ensuring animal prod- ucts that are imported to the UK at least meet our minimum welfare stand- ards must be a priority not just for animal welfare reasons but also to protect the integrity of UK food and the commercial vi- ability of UK farming.
“As the EFRA report is- sued recently concluded, the government must in- sist on maintaining our higher standards when ne- gotiating new trade agree- ments so farmers here are not undercut by cheap, lower-welfare imports.
“Brexit offers a great opportunity for the UK to strengthen its animal welfare standards.
“The UK has already forged ahead by banning the production of lower- welfare products such as eggs from hens kept in barren battery cages.
“Now is the chance to ban
them being imported too.” Though foie gras has never been produced in the UK on cruelty grounds, around 180 to 200 tonnes is imported from mainland
Europe each year.
Sow stalls, which do not
allow a pig to turn around or move, were banned in the UK in 1999 but are still used in major pig pro-
ducing countries such as the US.
Growth-promoting hor- mones used to produce beef, and chicken meat washed with chlorine, are practices banned in the EU but some have said Brexit offers opportuni- ties to import these prod- ucts at a lower cost to the consumer.
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Australian Pork Newspaper, January 2019 – Page 9

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