Foreign animal disease in the feed industry: What are the risks, and what can we do? |

Foreign animal disease in the feed industry: What are the risks, and what can we do?

MANHATTAN, Kan. — The K-State Feed Safety Team recently released an article featured on the front cover of the June 2019 issue of Feedstuffs magazine, which highlighted options for feed manufacturers as they work to minimize the risk of foreign animal disease entry into the United States.

The article is available at

The article was authored by Cassie Jones, ASI associate professor; Jason Woodworth, ASI research professor; Steve Dritz, Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology professor; and Chad Paulk, Grain Science & Industry assistant professor.

As African swine fever virus (ASFV) continues to spread across Southeast Asia, classical swine fever virus (CSFV) expands within Japan, and foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) reports continue from China, there is increased concern that foreign animal disease (FAD) may enter the United States. Their entry would be devastating to the swine industry, but also to those that produce feed and ingredients fed to pigs.

There are many potential routes for FAD entry into the United States, with ingredients being just one. The US Customs Border Patrol, USDA, FDA and other entities are taking steps to limit entry through more direct methods, such as regulating the importation of live animals or smuggling of pork products, but it is the responsibility of the feed industry to minimize the potential for FAD entry through a feed vehicle.

Reports of ASFV presence in feed are already occurring. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China has reported that 22 of the 68 reported ASFV outbreaks had an epidemiological root cause linked to contaminated swill or feed. It is likely that most of these outbreaks are due to swill feeding in transitional, backyard swine herds. However, there is evidence that ASFV contamination exists in ingredients used in modern production.

Strenuous actions are necessary to prevent feed mills from being a source of cross-contamination. Here are some recommendations for swine feed manufacturers to consider to minimize the potential for ASFV and other FAD entry and transmission via the feed supply chain:

Know your supplier. It is key that facilities can identify the supplier of the ingredients coming into their facility.

Do not use grains or oilseeds (or their resultant meals) from regions with foreign animal disease. Mills manufacturing feed for multiple species should follow this suggestion for the entire mill, not just exclude it from swine feed.

If using other ingredients from regions with foreign animal disease, take steps to ensure they are at low risk for disease transmission. Consider both the point of manufacture and its method of transportation. It may be appropriate to have different procedures for receipt of ingredients transported in different forms.

Use porcine-based ingredients with caution. Porcine-based ingredient production is likely to contain a kill-step capable of destroying viruses. However, post-processing cross-contamination may exist, causing the potential for these ingredients to be sources of viral entry into mills.

Implement biosecurity at the mill. Biosecurity procedures have been in place for decades on swine farms to limit disease transmission by people and delivery vehicles. These same principles should be extended to mills.

When delivering feed, use cleaning and disinfection stations prior to entering and exiting farms. Alternatively, consider unloading feed across a line of segregation or fence into another feed truck or extend augers so bins can be filled on the exterior of the line of segregation.

We’re in a new era of feed production in which feed safety is as paramount as quality and tonnage. Unfortunately, some mills struggle to implement changes that maximize feed safety because it’s difficult to establish a return-on-investment calculation for the extra effort. Still, the cost of foreign animal disease entry into a mill would be catastrophic, and therefore we must adapt our culture to make feed not just wholesome but safe. ❖

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