Commission to discuss French draft measures at Scofcah meeting today

PED virus: France looks to ban feed containing pig by-products from US and Canada

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

PED virus: France looks to ban feed containing pig by-products from US and Canada

Related tags: Eu feed manufacturers, Pig

France has proposed a ban on feed ingredients using pig by-products and the import of live pigs from North America, Mexico and Japan, in order to ward off the entry of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) into the country.

Although PEDv does not affect humans or pork safety, it has infected and killed millions of piglets on farms of all sizes in 27 US states since May 2013 and in some Canadian provinces since January this year. 

Retail pork prices in the US, as a result of a contracted hog sector, have hit record highs in the past few months. 

A spokesperson for EU feed manufacturers' trade group, FEFAC, told the French ban is only at the draft stage - it has not yet been published. 

But he said the measures are on the agenda at today's meeting of the EU Commission's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (Scofcah).

The ban, in the main, would target animal feed from Canada, and the prohibition would not include pork meat for human consumption. 

Porcine blood plasma - a potential transmitter of the PED virus according to some industry insiders - is used in the feed of piglets in the EU during the post-weaning phase.

Jean-Luc Angot, director general and chief veterinary officer at the French agriculture ministry, which has proposed the ban, said the high losses of pigs in the US and other markets is concerning. 

France proposed the adoption of an EU-wide embargo last month, said Dr Angot, but, despite support from other leading pig-producing countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, the EU Commission refused to back the proposal. 

US and Canadian swine sectors look to eradicate virus

Cargill recently announced it was funding feed-related research on PEDv to the tune of $150,000 in a bid to understand how pigs become infected and to help try and eradicate it.

Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology at the US National Pork Board, said the funds from Cargill were a valuable addition to its war chest for PEDv research, with financing from industry now totaling $2 million. 

It will help the trade group continue to build an arsenal of information on PEDv, he added.

Michael Martin, a spokesperson for Cargill, told that “PEDv has impacted the entire industry. As a major pork producer, and a major supplier of feed, we want to do our fair share to help in finding a solution to this virus, which is devastating to newborn piglets.”

Industry explores feed transmission of PEDv 

Cargill’s funds are going towards research projects aimed at investigating the effectiveness and cost of treatments to mitigate the survival of PEDv and other viruses in feeds. 

Researchers from Kansas State University, in a paper in February this year, said that while: “feed transmission is possible, the magnitude of the risk remains undemonstrated and in likelihood is less than other forms of transmission.  

However, we acknowledge that multiple routes of PEDv transmission are occurring and further information on feed risk and feed mitigation strategies are needed.”

Feed recall

In February this year, Ontario feed maker, Grand Valley Fortifiers, said porcine plasma in feed may pose a risk of transmission of the PED virus after it was forced to recall feed pellets from its swine producer customers that had “contained live virus capable of infecting pigs.”​ 

CEO of the feed company, Ian Ross, said that month that the firm had removed all porcine plasma from its feed products and he called on the entire feed sector to follow suit.

But tests by the Canadian regulator in the same month proved inconclusive on a link between PEDv and the feed pellets in question. 

Related topics: Regulation

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