The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced changes to practices regarding the import of unprocessed grains, grain products, oilseeds and associated meals for use in animal feed at the end of March. The changes took effect on March 29.
There is some flexibility being granted to shipments that moved before April 30, the agency said. However, information about the feed shipment needs to be supplied to establish that it is not going to “introduce into or spread” African Swine Fever (ASF) in Canada.
The amendments relate to ongoing concerns regarding ASF, the agency said.
“The disease is responsible for serious production and economic losses through high death rates in pigs and significant trade impacts,” CFIA said. “The financial impact of the introduction of ASF into Canada is estimated at $24bn by Canadian industry, if such an introduction were to occur.”
The changes apply to feed grains, oilseeds and meals intended for use in animal feed and originating in a country of concern, or that has reported active cases of ASF in wild or domestic pigs in the last five years. The list of countries includes, but is not limited to, Belgium, China, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Russia.
There are import controls in place regarding imports of live pigs, pork products and by-products, CFIA said. However, there had not been an import control regarding “plant-based feed ingredients” and a recent scientific paper indicated that feed ingredients may potentially pose a risk for the transmission of viruses, including ASF.
Canadian regulatory change overview
At this point, select commodities require a new import permit, the CFIA reported. Permit applications also need to include a completed questionnaire to establish that import conditions have been met and must be sent to the CFIA Centre of Administration for Permissions.
“An application for a permit to import must be accompanied by information that is adequate to allow a determination that taking a plant-based feed ingredient of concern into the secondary control zone would not, or would not be likely to, result in the introduction into or spread within Canada of ASF,” the agency said.
The secondary control zones include the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec and Halifax, the agency said. Shipments of bulk ingredients need to be moved in either a single use bulk container or containers that have been lined with a one-use plastic liner and handled to prevent cross-contamination.
“Prior to sale or distribution, the product must undergo a heat treatment at the importing facility where the product temperature reaches at least 70°C for 30 minutes or 85°C for 5 minutes or the product must be held at the importing facility in Canada for a minimum of 20 days at 20°C or 100 days at 10°C,” the agency said. “Any untreated materials must be disposed of in a manner that will not result in the product entering the feed chain or being accessible to wild pigs or other animals, and as per local environmental regulations.”
Backing from pork producers
The Canadian swine industry endorsed the amendments, said Gary Stordy, director of government and corporate affairs, Canadian Pork Council. A risk was identified within the industry and the government intervened, he said.
“As we try to understand the spread [of ASF] and the vectors, this one caught our attention as something of a concern,” he told FeedNavigator. “It’s most likely organic products [that are of concern],” he added. “It’s meal and soybeans – [but] it’s really the organic [version] where the risk is.”
He said there was still an ongoing global discussion about ASF and the swine industry is keen on understanding how the virus is transmitted. "If there’s new information or there’s clearly an area where there’s a risk, we’ll attempt or try to move forward on it.”
Protective steps in the US
In the US, there are ongoing discussions regarding potential regulatory steps or suggestions to be taken, said Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC).
“What we want to have happen is to have USDA do the best job it can to protect [the] industry from foreign animal diseases,” he told us. “We’re open to talking to the USDA about how best to protect the US pork industry.”
Some pork producers also may be starting to implement their own protective steps regarding imported products, he said.
Additionally, revisions are underway on a document released last fall discussing the potential use of holding periods for feed ingredients and virus half-life, Sundberg said. The updated version is expected to be released by the end of the month.