SHIC-Sponsored Workshop Considers Vitamin Supply Chain and Disease Risk

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) joined with the University of Minnesota to sponsor a workshop on April 29, 2019, to increase understanding of the vitamin supply chain and identify potential risk factors for introducing foreign animal disease (FAD) to the US. Within the vitamin supply chain meeting report, authors Dr. Gerald Shurson and Dr. Pedro Urriola of the University of Minnesota describe current industry understanding of vitamin manufacturing, transport, and vitamin premix composition/manufacturing processes as well as quality assurance and biosecurity programs. They address the pork producers’ need to select reputable suppliers for all feed ingredients and describe the challenges of potential mitigation procedures for vitamin products and premixes. The vitamin supply chain report also includes a detailed listing of vitamin manufacturers in China and their web sites as well details on biosecurity procedures and third-party audits of many of these facilities.

Estimates of the quantity and percentage of total vitamins imported into the United States from China in 2018 (Source: United States International Trade Commission;

Vitamin imports (human and animal use)kgEstimated % of total vitamin imports
Vitamin C36,435,93580
Vitamin E and related27,689,71055
Niacin (B3)9,891,19250
Pantothenic acid (B5)4,781,25370
Vitamin A2,257,38835
Thiamin (B1)2,137,93490
Riboflavin (B2)1,507,01650
Pyridoxine (B6)1,367,48390
Vitamin (B12)661,10790
Folic acid337,10640
Other unmixed vitamins and derivatives4,467,90870

Vitamins are essential nutrients required by swine to optimize health, productivity, and well-being. The US pork industry is dependent on vitamins manufactured in China, where African swine fever (ASF) continues to spread. To meet US demand, there are limited options for sourcing vitamins, and in some cases no option other than Chinese-origin products. The risk of ASF or other FAD being introduced to the US via vitamin imports appears to be low, however, a legitimate concern due to the consequences.

Risk factors for ASF contamination and transmission via the vitamin supply chain include purchase from unconventional brokers without necessary documentation, cross contamination of vitamin premixes with other feed ingredients (particularly porcine-derived ingredients), porcine-derived gelatin used in vitamins A and D3, and ground corn cobs used as carriers during the choline chloride manufacturing process.