Livestock News

How the U.S. is staying one step ahead of African swine fever


When it comes to African swine fever, it seems it’s almost easier to say where the virus isn’t present. According to the World Organization for Animal Health, more than 50 countries have reported the deadly virus either in wild or domestic pigs during the past five years. To help contain the virus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is announcing a joint project to develop a certification program for high-consequence swine diseases.

In coordination with The Iowa State University Center for Food Security and ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, APHIS will develop and implement a pilot African Swine Fever-Classical Swine Fever-Monitored Certification Program. This program will be modeled after the basic tenets of the National Poultry Improvement Plan program for U.S. commercial poultry operations.

Both ASF and CSF pose tremendous threats to the pork industry if detected in the U.S. This pilot would provide a framework and support staff to further safeguard the industry by ensuring effective, and active surveillance throughout the country and the ability to quickly zone infected areas, if disease were detected. The pilot also has the potential to provide assurances to trading partners and consumers about our animal disease status.

To develop the pilot, a team of technical advisors and subject matter experts from across the U.S. pork industry will assist in drafting program standards for consideration. A group of industry stakeholders and regulatory officials will review, amend, and determine the standards to establish the program’s content, direction, and requirements for certification.

When implemented, the pilot will provide a forum for State and Federal agencies, diagnostic laboratories, and industry stakeholders to collaborate directly to establish regulatory and diagnostic priorities, creating a more efficient and engaged process and fostering greater engagement in national swine disease control efforts.

U.S. pork producers and packing facilities in participating states that meet specified program requirements will be able to enroll in the program on a voluntary basis. Through this project, APHIS will work to assess the potential for transitioning to a more formal ongoing national plan to certify the health of U.S. swine.

APHIS will provide updates on this pilot project after the initial standards have been drafted.

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