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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) kg Estimated % of total vitamin imports
Total 91,534,032
Vitamin C 36,435,935 80
Vitamin E and related 27,689,710 55
Niacin (B3) 9,891,192 50
Pantothenic acid (B5) 4,781,253 70
Vitamin A 2,257,388 35
Thiamin (B1) 2,137,934 90
Riboflavin (B2) 1,507,016 50
Pyridoxine (B6) 1,367,483 90
Vitamin B12 661,107 90
Folic acid 337,106 40
Other unmixed vitamins and derivatives 4,467,908 70

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.

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