Biosecurity: World Pork Expo 2019 canceled due to African swine fever risks

World Pork Expo is, as you might guess from the name, the world’s largest conference for the pork industry. Each year, it’s visited by about 20,000 swine producers, pork processors, veterinarians, animal researchers, regulatory authorities, bacon lovers and other industry stakeholders. The event is an opportunity for attendees to learn, network and enjoy prestigious swine shows.

The 2019 expo was planned to occur June 5–7 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, in the U.S. The key word is “was.” The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), a U.S.-based trade association that hosts the event, today announced that the event would not be held this year, out of extreme caution against the threat of African swine fever (ASF).

“While an evaluation by veterinarians and other third-party experts concluded negligible risk associated with holding the event, we have decided to exercise extreme caution,” said David Herring, NPPC president. “The health of the U.S. swine herd is paramount; the livelihoods of our producers depend on it.”

Feedstuffs highlights how the cancellation coincides with NPPC’s Legislative Action Conference, in which over 100 pork producers are meeting this week with U.S. senators to discuss the country’s plans to prevent ASF and other animal diseases.

The ASF situation

ASF is a deadly and contagious viral disease that causes bloody sores on a pig’s skin and internal organs, as well as fever, loss of appetite, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea. There’s no cure or vaccine, so it can quickly harm a nation’s swine population, devastating its pork industry. It doesn’t harm humans or pose a food safety risk, but that doesn’t make it less worrying.

Currently, ASF is spreading rapidly in China, and outbreaks have been cropping up in unusual numbers in other Asian and Eastern European nations as well. Approximately one million pigs have been culled in China alone to try to halt the disease’s spread.

Studies suggest that 46% of ASF outbreaks are spread by vehicles and workers without disinfection, 34% by the practice of feeding refuse and food scraps, and 19% by transport of live pigs and their products, according to Meat and Poultry.

With such a large number of outbreaks spread by the movement of people, strict biosecurity controls are essential for protecting any country’s swine population, especially adequate disinfectant usage. For more on how to successfully implement a strong biosecurity program, check out our previous blog post, “Strong biosecurity can mitigate African swine fever virus,” or learn more here.

Neogen offers products that can play an essential role in any biosecurity program to keep animals and people safe, including disinfectants, cleaners, personal protective equipment and more.

For more information on World Pork Expo, see the FAQs published by NPCC following the cancellation.

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