Reports from IPPE

AFIA: Good biosecurity essential for tackling ASF

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

AFIA works to address foreign animal disease concerns, promote a safe feed supply and prompt open communication about risk with biosecurity guidance development, says director.

We sat down with Paul Davis, director of quality, animal food safety and education, American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), at the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) to hear more about what prompted the association effort to revise its biosecurity guidance for industry.

AFIA published an updated guidance​ document on how to establish biosecurity practices for feed and ingredient producers in January.

“One of our goals as an association is a safe feed supply and then also to help safeguard the animal industry against foreign animal diseases,”​ he said.

The guide is about helping industry “evaluate risk, make a plan to mitigate those risks, execute that plan and then verify it’s being carried out [throughout the supply chain],”​ he said.

Common definitions proved important too:

“We worked with other industry groups to come up with a definition of a bio-secure facility because we found that that really didn’t exist."

The AFIA is also tracking ongoing research exploring disease transmission routes.

Addressing biosecurity beyond ASF

The association is seeking to foster communication and support industry discussions around biosecurity, said Davis.

“We want to make sure that there’s regular communication, open communication and that folks are asking the right questions,” ​he said. “We begin to mitigate fear, and I believe risk, with good communication; that’s not all it takes, but it’s a key component.”

“We wanted our biosecurity guidelines to be a starting point, an idea generator and a guideline – it’s not all there is to the story, but it’s a tool,”​ he added.

Outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in several countries have raised questions about biosecurity for members of the US feed industry, and the disease could be “potentially devastating”​ to the pork production industry in the US, he said. However, the disease is not the only reason members of the feed industry should address biosecurity.

“The presence of ASF in other countries certainly magnifies the need for good biosecurity, but that need is always there,” ​he said. “It isn’t just about African swine fever, but any potentially harmful foreign animal disease – a good solid biosecurity for our animal industries is important to defend against that.”

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