Recently, African Swine Fever (ASF) has become a rising issue in Asia and Europe, with China, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, as well as Belgium now reporting cases of infected pigs. ASF is a contagious viral disease which affects pigs of all ages, causing high mortality within the animals. Though humans are not susceptible to the disease, it can be spread through our contaminated clothing, equipment, or feed, potentially expanding the outbreak to Canada through imports from these infected countries.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has already arranged some preventative measures to avoid the outbreak of the disease within Canada, including the following measures:
- Import restrictions and border control of products brought into the country by international travelers
- Coordination with the Canadian Border Services Agency for border inspections
- Continuous risk assessment of countries from which Canada imports
- Working with the EU to monitor the situation in affected countries and update import controls as needed
- Work to establish harmonized diagnostic testing for ASF with the US and Mexico
- Encourage enhanced biosecurity measures including recommendations for travelers
- On-going discussions with the provincial Chief Veterinary Officers and CFIA’s American counterparts
The risk assessment for the issue is still in progress, and the CFIA is currently working on a list of products that could potentially infect the feed. Aside from this, the CFIA is working on possible scenarios on current or new zoning of ASF should cases arise in Canada.
As there is currently no effective vaccine or treatment for ASF, the best strategy for the time being is to prevent entry of the virus into Canada. In order to avoid entry, it is best for Canadian producers to follow precautionary measures. When visiting other countries, do not bring back any meat products into Canada, wash all clothing and footwear immediately after use in other countries, do not feed swine any human food waste, and routinely evaluate biosecurity protocols with farm staff and visitors.
More information regarding updates on Canada’s measures against this virus will be released later in the month.
Source: Canadian Pork Council