Estimates show that an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) on U.S. soil could cost the economy upwards of $79.5 billion over 10 years if uncontrolled. For years, the U.S. feed industry has been enhancing its biosecurity programs to guard against feed - and the workers or trucks transporting it to farms - from becoming the source of introduction or contamination of this deadly swine disease. This is particularly important, given that should the virus be found in a U.S. feed mill, it could remain in the environment for some time.
In 2021, the Institute for Feed Education and Research partnered with the Swine Health Information Center, the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada and the United Soybean Board to fund a Kansas State University led study evaluating how feed mill equipment could be cleaned should the ASF virus be discovered at a mill. This research is critical for improving the industry’s response and mitigation efforts in the event of an outbreak, given much of the sophisticated equipment used in feed mills is not designed for disinfection.
Using three swine viruses already present in the United States (Senecavirus A, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus), the project is analyzing the infectivity of feed and environmental samples after completion of flushing and decontamination procedures. The feed inoculation and manufacturing will occur in Kansas State University’s Cargill Feed Safety Research Center, which includes a pilot-scale feed mill with pelleting capabilities and is approved for handling biosafety level 2 pathogens. Samples tested for infectivity will occur at Iowa State University.
IFEEDER is the only public charity of its kind, conducting research about and for the entire U.S. animal food industry. Through proactive research performed in collaboration with stakeholders, IFEEDER is helping business leaders make informed decisions about the future of animal agriculture.