By Dave Fairfield, Senior Vice President of Feed Services
A National Pork Board (NPB)-issued joint paper, authored by its Swine Health Information Center, as well as the National Pork Producers Council, and American Association of Swine Veterinarians, indicates that observing a holding time period for feed ingredients may reduce the potential transmission of African Swine Fever (ASF) and other pathogenic diseases by feed.
The “holding paper” states that the information provided is for general informational and educational purposes only and is not to be construed as recommending or advocating any specific course of action. It also states that the science on viral transmission of ASF through feed and feedstuffs still is evolving. But it proceeds to make the following considerations and suggestions for imported feed and feed ingredients:
- Feedstuffs manufactured, sealed, handled and shipped under biosecure conditions that produce a product free of pathogens and prevent post-processing contamination are not a risk to animal health.
- Feedstuffs may become contaminated if not produced under biosecure conditions, produced under unknown conditions or not sealed to prevent post-processing contamination. The time between manufacture and use (holding time) gives an opportunity for viral contaminants to naturally degrade, so as not to be infectious.
- Current research shows a holding time of 78 days after the date of manufacture and bagging or sealing to prevent additional contamination (“born on date”) for amino acids, minerals or vitamins will degrade 99.99 percent of viral contamination.
- Current research shows a holding time of 286 days after the “born on date” for soybean meal will degrade 99.99 percent of viral contamination, if shipped in a way to prevent additional contamination.
- There are two general categories of feedstuffs: 1) those produced and handled in sealed or secure containers (examples – vitamins, amino acids, etc.); and 2) bulk feedstuffs (examples – soybean meal, dried distillers grains with solubles) produced and handled in non-sealed or non-secure containers, totes, etc. Feedstuffs in either described category may be produced under biosecure, non-biosecure or unknown conditions. For each category, options are provided based upon whether the products are produced under biosecure conditions, non-biosecure or unknown conditions in the foreign country of origin.
- Pork producers should visit with their feedstuffs suppliers about which categories and conditions apply to their products.
The paper does not define the term “biosecure,” but this term generally is meant to describe practices used to reduce the risk of pathogens being introduced into or contaminating the final feed or feed ingredient.
Significantly, the paper also mentions the addition of a “feed-ingredient mitigant” to shorten, but not eliminate, the suggested holding time. However, currently there are no mitigants approved for virus reduction by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
As previously communicated, to minimize the potential for introduction and spread of viruses, including ASF, within the feed supply-chain, the NGFA encourages feed facilities to communicate with their pork customers about feed safety issues and implement effective feed safety and biosecurity practices that are appropriate for their operations.