African Swine Fever (ASF) is quite accomplished at exploiting a wide variety of biosecurity gaps. There have been a number of high profile seizures of ASF infected meat at ports of entry in South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and now Australia. There are a number of animal diseases that can be transmitted to pigs via pork meat and pork products that are sourced from infected areas. The people that attempt to smuggle in meat may be under the impression that if the meat product is dry cured and is safe for human consumption then it certainly should cause no harm to livestock. Unfortunately not so much and this assumes that smugglers are even thinking at all!
Italian researchers wanted to evaluate the effect of the standard approved dry curing process on the inactivation of African swine fever virus (ASFV) in three different Italian dry-cured meat products. The products were prepared from experimentally infected pigs that were slaughtered at the peak of ASF viremia. The meat products were processed using commercial methods and industrial procedures that are currently being followed in Italy. Samples that were collected at predetermined intervals during the dry curing process were subsequently analyzed for virus survival by both virus isolation and animal inoculation. ASFV was detected in these dry cured products as follows:
- Italian salami up to 18 days
- Pork belly up to 60 days
- Pork Loin up to 83 days
Take Home Message
ASF contaminated dry cured pork products that could make their way to a North American pig farm have the potential to cause ASF.
In the face of the devastation that would be caused by ASF and other FAD and even though we all want to support our meat industry there is no place for processed or uncooked meat products in pig barns.
Submitted by Ed Metzger, DVM
Ref: Petrini S, Feliziani F, Casciari C, Giammarioli M, Torresi C, De Mia GM. Survival of African swine fever virus (ASFV) in various traditional Italian dry-cured meat products.Prev Vet Med. 2019 Jan 1;162:126-130. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2018.11.013.