Feed from China IS a threat

Feed ingredients from China could bring diseases to the North American hog industry, warns Dr. Scott Dee of Pipestone Veterinary Services in Minnesota.

This photo taken on July 19, 2018 shows sacks of animal feed made from soybeans at the Hopefull Grain and Oil Group in Sanhe, in China's northern Hebei province. (AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKERGREG)

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Feed ingredients from China could bring diseases to the North American hog industry, warns Dr. Scott Dee of Pipestone Veterinary Services in Minnesota.

He has studied computer models of trade patterns and viruses to speculate about the threat from increased trade in feed ingredients from China.

It’s possible that’s how Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus broke out in the United States and current Chinese outbreaks of African Swine Fever pose a new threat. The Chinese have found it in feed.

“Very few people realise that [the U.S.] imports two million metric tons of agricultural products a year from the country of China,” Dee said.

“Grains, meat products, vitamins, amino acids, antibiotics – the list goes on and on,” he said.

“It’s amazing what global trade has done in the recent past to kind of make a spider web almost around the world.”

Dee said the U.S. Department of Agriculture is not currently testing any Chinese products for African Swine Fever virus.

“The USDA has not allowed testing to be a routine procedure, but you never know – they might start sampling certain batches in an experimental sense, which I think is a good idea,” he said.

“My concern is it’s going to take a lot of samples before you might find the one positive batch. I think this is kind of a needle in the haystack situation.”

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