In this file:


·         U.S. to train more beagles to sniff out swine fever

·         USDA Strengthens Partnerships and Protections to Keep African Swine Fever Out of the Country



U.S. to train more beagles to sniff out swine fever


Reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago. Includes files from Glacier FarmMedia Network staff.

via Canadian Cattlemen - March 6, 2019


Chicago | Reuters — The U.S. government will increase the number of dogs used to sniff out illegal pork products at airports and seaports in an effort to keep out a contagious hog disease that has spread across Asia and Europe, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Wednesday.


The disease, African swine fever, can kill hogs in just two days. China, home to the world’s largest hog herd, has reported more than 100 cases of the disease in 27 provinces and regions since last August. Efforts to contain the fever have disrupted Chinese pork supplies.


The virus, which does not harm people, has spread to China’s neighbour, Vietnam. Eastern Europe has also suffered an outbreak and Belgium has found the virus in wild boar.


To prevent the disease from entering the United States, USDA said it will work with Customs and Border Patrol agents to add 60 beagle teams at key U.S. commercial ports, seaports and airports, for a total of 179 teams.


The dogs will help expand arrival screenings as U.S. authorities check cargo for illegal pork products and ensure that travelers who pose a risk to spreading African swine fever (ASF) receive extra inspections, according to USDA.


“We understand the grave concerns about the ASF situation overseas,” said Greg Ibach, the agency’s undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.


USDA will also ramp up inspections of facilities that feed garbage to livestock to ensure the waste is cooked properly to prevent potential disease spread, according to a statement.


Hogs can be infected by African swine fever by direct contact with infected pigs or by eating garbage containing meat and or meat products from infected pigs.


In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has cautioned that people such as farm workers, exchange students or hunters who travel to ASF-infected countries could bring back contaminated food, clothing and/or equipment.


Visitors who have visited a farm in an ASF-infected country must not visit a pig farm in Canada for at least 14 days, CFIA says on its website.


Also, the agency warned, travellers neglecting to declare all animal and food products at the border may face fines...





USDA Strengthens Partnerships and Protections to Keep African Swine Fever Out of the Country


Source: USDA Office of Communications

Mar 6, 2019


WASHINGTON, March 6, 2019 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced additional steps to keep African swine fever (ASF) from entering the United States, even as the disease spreads internationally. These steps strengthen the protections announced last fall after the deadly swine disease reached China. The goal remains to protect our nation’s swine industry from this disease. ASF does not affect people, nor is it a food safety issue.


In coordination with the pork industry, USDA’s Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Greg Ibach, has stated the following enhanced activities to intensify multi-agency efforts toward the prevention of ASF’s entry into the United States:


•           Work with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to train and add 60 additional beagle teams for a total of 179 teams working at key U.S. commercial, sea, and air ports;


•           Coordinate with CBP on the further expansion of arrival screenings at key U.S. commercial sea and air ports – including checking cargo for illegal pork/pork products and ensuring travelers who pose an ASF risk receive secondary agricultural inspection;


•           Increase inspections and enforcement of garbage feeding facilities to ensure fed garbage is cooked properly to prevent potential disease spread;


•           Heighten producer awareness and encourage self-evaluations of on-farm biosecurity procedures;


•           Work to develop accurate and reliable testing procedures to screen for the virus in grains, feeds and additives, and swine oral fluid samples;


•           Work closely with officials in Canada and Mexico on a North American coordinated approach to ASF defense, response, and trade maintenance;


•           And continue high level coordination with the U.S. pork industry leadership to assure unified efforts to combat ASF introduction.


“We understand the grave concerns about the ASF situation overseas,” said Ibach. “We are committed to working with the swine industry, our producers, other government agencies, and neighboring countries to take these additional steps.”


At the same time, USDA is continuing to enhance our planning so that we’re prepared in case we ever have to combat ASF. Along with our wide range of partner groups, we are working through several different ASF planning and response exercises. These cover different aspects – from trade implications to policy discussions to the boots-on-the-ground realities of a response. These will help everyone involved ensure their response plans are ready and identify any preparedness gaps that must be addressed.


ASF is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and feral (wild) pigs in all age groups. It is spread by contact with the body fluids of infected animals. It can also be spread by ticks that feed on infected animals. For more information, please visit the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service ASF webpage.




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