By Dave Fairfield, Senior Vice President, Feed Services
The NGFA and other representatives from the feed, pork and soybean industries on July 10 met to discuss the potential risk of introducing African Swine Fever (ASF) virus into the United States from imported soy products.
The meeting, hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Department of Animal Science, focused on imported soy products following a study published in 2018 that indicated soybean meal supports virus survival at a high frequency under conditions that simulated those that would occur during transportation of products from Asia to the United States. U.S. trade data indicates that approximately 42,000 metric tons of soybean meal and processed soy products were imported into the U.S. from China in 2018.
Because of these factors, the National Pork Producers Council in March 2019 adopted a resolution to work to restrict U.S. imports of soy-based feed products from countries of high risk to transmit foreign animal diseases, including ASF. Such a restriction, if imposed, potentially could be patterned after requirements established by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in March that created new import-permit criteria, and mandated holding times for grains and oilseeds and time/temperature processing parameters for oilseed meal products originating from countries of ASF concern.
ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs with extremely high mortality rates. The current ongoing ASF outbreak was first reported in China by authorities on Aug. 3, 2018, and the disease has since spread to every Chinese province. Since August 2018, ASF outbreaks also have been reported in several other countries throughout Asia and Europe. To date, ASF has never been reported in the United States or Canada. ASF does not pose a risk to human health.
During the meeting, participants discussed soy supply chain logistics and additional efforts needed to minimize the risk of transmission of ASF into the United States through imported soy products. Among the action steps identified to further address this issue were:
- Further study to evaluate U.S. soy product imports, including ports of entry, volume trends and intended uses.
- Establishing baseline biosecurity practices for the supply chain, along with means to verify such practices.
- Additional research to validate sampling and testing protocols for viruses in large bulk quantities of soy and feed products, and accessing the effects of various processing conditions on virus viability.
- Promote active communication among supply chain participants to establish the origin of imported soy-based products and identify practices used to mitigate the risk of ASF.
- Additional interaction with other livestock and poultry species organizations on preventing foreign animal diseases from entering the U.S.