U.S. soybean farmers appreciate the pork industry’s ongoing efforts to assure animal feed products brought in from outside the U.S. do not transfer foreign animal diseases to domestic animals or contaminate domestic meal supplies, which remain safe and reliable. Every day, soybean farmers take pride in providing a wholesome, high-quality feed ingredient and are actively working across U.S. agriculture to ensure the nation’s pork industry continues to thrive and serve as a global leader.
“The safety and quality of U.S. Soy products are our top priority, and we fully support bolstering biosecurity measures to prevent and mitigate the transmission of any foreign animal diseases into the U.S.,” said USB CEO Polly Ruhland.
With African swine fever (ASF) spreading to parts of Africa, Asia and Europe, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) sent a letter this week to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue asking to ban imports of organic soy products for use in animal feeds from ASF-impacted countries. The United Soybean Board (USB) commends NPPC for expressing in that request its “confidence in the safety of U.S. Soy” as a reliable feed ingredient. Though, USB still recognizes that trading partners are of critical importance to U.S. soybean farmers.
“Poultry and swine are major consumers of soybean meal, so protecting domestic farms and the U.S. animal agriculture industry is crucial,” said USB Chair Jim Carroll III, a soybean farmer from Brinkley, Arkansas. “We have closely collaborated with our pork partners to avoid and reduce threats including African swine fever.”
The U.S. Soy industry remains diligent about practices to protect the U.S. from ASF and to ensure that soybean meal is a dependable and safe source of nutrients for pigs, poultry, livestock and aquaculture. USB efforts related to pathogens include cross-industry discussions with USB’s feed technical team and collaborative investments with the private sector to develop an ASF surrogate virus with the University of Minnesota, which will enable development of an ASFV test and a formal feed-ingredient risk assessment. The U.S. Soy community also has robust standards and travel protocols in place to protect soy’s feed customers and their swine herds.
The ASF virus is commonly spread by direct or indirect contact between animals but can live on most surfaces for short periods of time, including feed that makes contact with infected animals. Yet, viral transmission of the infection is primarily spread by animal-to-animal contact or through airports or other ports of entry on contaminated meat, equipment or clothing.
Declan Schroeder, Ph.D., virologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota indicates, “Time and temperature conditions that exceed World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture APHIS temperature inactivation requirements, i.e., 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, will inactivate the ASF virus. This combined with biosecurity practices to prevent recontamination result in products that will not transmit the virus.” Tim Kemper, the global operations director for Desmet Ballestra, adds that there are multiple process steps in a typical soybean plant where these temperature and time parameters are exceeded.
While ASF has not been detected in the U.S., the soy industry recognizes the need for proactive efforts to minimize the risk of importing it. USB and the U.S. Soybean Export Council will continue to monitor ASF and offer educational outreach to the soy industry regarding safety best practices to prevent the spread of ASF and other animal pathogens.