Secure Pork Plan aims to help pork producers stop foreign disease before it arrives

As swine diseases threaten to spread into countries they were previously absent from, authorities are sharpening their approach to helping pork producers protect their operations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), with help from The Pork Checkoff and Iowa State University’s Center for Food Security and Public Health, is promoting the adoption of Secure Pork Plans, as part of its Secure Pork Supply initiative.

The initiative highlights the risks posed by diseases like foot and mouth disease (FMD), classical swine fever (CSF) and African swine fever (ASF). Each of these diseases has largely remained outside of the U.S., and ASF especially has been rattling nerves as a current epidemic threatens to spread into mostly uncharted territory. ASF is currently responsible for several outbreaks in Asia and Eastern Europe, making producers in Western Europe and North America nervous.

A Secure Pork Plan focuses on emergency preparedness. If a new swine disease was introduced to a country’s swine population, export trade could halt suddenly. Control areas would be established, as is already the case as a preemptive measure in some Western European countries in terms of controlling their wild boar populations. It’s been estimated that ASF reaching U.S. shores could cost its swine industry up to $16.5 billion and put tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

USDA’S Secure Pork Plan encourages producers to:

  • Obtain a national premises identification number
  • Implement stringent biosecurity protocols
  • Designate someone to conduct regular surveillance and sampling
  • Maintain movement records

China has recently implemented stronger standards to prevent its ASF epidemic from becoming more widespread. All slaughterhouses in the country need to run ASF virus tests for pig products before selling them to the market. They must also slaughter pigs from different origins separately. As of February 1, they will be required to cull all pigs to be slaughtered and suspend operations for 48 hours if ASF is detected. Authorities have also banned the practice of feeding kitchen waste to pigs, and have restricted transport of pigs and pork products from infected areas.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the largest Chinese farm to date, with 73,000 pigs, has experienced an ASF outbreak.

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.

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