Second SHIC-Sponsored Workshop Addresses Soybean Supply Chain and ASF Feed Risk

In April, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) joined with the University of Minnesota (UMN) to sponsor a workshop to increase understanding of the vitamin supply chain and identify potential risk factors for introducing African swine fever (ASF) and other foreign animal disease (FAD) to the US. Taking the next step last week, SHIC and UMN brought together soybean industry stakeholders for a similar event. Presenters and discussion focused on potential risk factors of soybeans and related products, such as soybean meal, as vectors for ASF and FAD transmission. Prevention, mitigation, and differentiation strategies, along with research and education were discussed. At the workshop’s conclusion, participants were asked to prioritize the three top actions they believed should occur. Those responses were analyzed with mitigation strategies and processes being the top collective priority followed by communication, education, and collaboration, then importer outreach and communication, import biosecurity protocols, virus testing and sampling, surrogate model validation, and risk assessment for ASF.

All documents from the workshop can be found on the SHIC website. Facilitating collaboration through sponsoring and participating in these workshops reflects SHIC’s mission to monitor and be prepared for emerging diseases, protecting US swine herd health.

All attending the workshop are concerned about the high consequences of ASF or other FADs being discovered in the US, though agreed the risk for ASF infection cannot yet be quantified. Stakeholders were very interested in soybean meal mitigation processes (both extracting and expelling) to inactivate the virus and understanding whole bean status following processing as well, with evaluation of efficacy of all mitigants and related processes required.

ASF is already creating major changes in global feed ingredient and food trade. Many countries, like the US, import significant amounts of feed products from China where the ASF pandemic continues to grow, including vitamins, amino acids, and soybean products. Whether due to tariffs or risk of ASF contamination, soybean meal imports to the US from China have dropped dramatically since August 2018. Consequently, responsible feed ingredient sourcing by livestock producers, a key to prevention, is necessary. Participants encourage the development of diagnostic testing capability for feed and feed ingredients as well as a response plan to support monitoring of these products. Should ASF or another FAD be diagnosed in the US, a plan to assess and mitigate contamination within the feed supply chain is essential.

Understanding these realities, attendees also know more information is needed on the amount of feed ingredients being imported from each country as well as their FAD status. The logistics of soy imports and exports need scrutiny as well, with transportation being a consideration.

A review of Canada’s approach to ASF control in the feed ingredient supply chain was presented. The Canadian government has developed and implemented programs and requirements on imported animals and meat. Their assessment of the risk of ASF virus transmission in grains, oil seeds, and associated meals were ranked high because of the risk of cross-contamination.

Similarly, in the US, it appears the potential risk factors in the US soy supply chain are soybean hulls and transportation cross-contamination So, for soy products, a better understanding of logistics and quantities for imported products are needed. Importers also need to be better informed on ASF and associated risks for appropriate actions to prevent disease transmission. This includes biosecurity and pre-screening protocols for importers.

Funded by America’s pork producers to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd, the Swine Health Information Center focuses its efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research for the benefit of swine health. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at [email protected].