The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) applauded additional measures announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enhance its African swine fever (ASF) preparedness efforts with the implementation of a surveillance plan. The risk of ASF – an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks – is growing as outbreaks continue throughout China and other parts of Asia. There are no reported cases of ASF in the United States.
“U.S. pork producers are already suffering as a result of numerous trade disputes with top-importing countries, and an outbreak of ASF in the United States would be devastating,” said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C., and president of NPPC. “That’s why it’s so important we have a strong surveillance program, to ensure early notification of any spread of the virus. With no vaccination available, prevention is our only defense. We thank USDA for today’s announcement and look forward to working with the agency to strengthen safeguards to protect our animals.”
Among the enhanced ASF surveillance efforts announced by USDA, the agency will:
• add ASF testing to its existing classical swine fever surveillance;
• work with state and federal partners to identify and investigate incidents involving sick or dead feral swine to determine if they should be tested for ASF or other foreign animal diseases;
• work with officials in Canada and Mexico on a North American coordinated approach to ASF defense, response, and trade maintenance; and
• increase detector dog teams with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to sniff out illegal products at key U.S. commercial sea and airports.