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Porcine Virus in food transportation

Posted by admin on April 21, 2014


PED impacts piglets, farmers concerned.
The USDA now requiring reporting of PED virus.
Virus is taking a major toll on U.S. pork producers.


If a smell could punch you in the face, I would use that term to describe my first introduction to a farrowing house. It is where pigs are born. I suspect my brother-in-law chuckled with Schadenfreud at my suburban sensitivities. Inside, the 70F year round climate control kept the piglets warm and the air foul. Raising pigs is hard, dirty work that I respect, because bacon and ribs are two things that I enjoy immensely, and the quality of American pork brings these foods into the realm of high art.

It is therefore with sadness that I learn that plate of ribs is going to be harder to produce. Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus is taking a major toll on U.S. pork producers. PED strikes suckling piglets. Once a piglet is weaned, the diet change reduces the potential for piglet mortality.

The interesting facet for a person like I, who is not a farm professional, is the transportation vector as it relates to the spread of the PED virus. My father-in-law’s farm had a sign telling truck drivers that they would be issued boots and coveralls and to not enter the property without them. He might have been trying to avoid foot and mouth disease as he raised cattle, but he might have just implemented it as an overall GMP.

Thus, the recent focus of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) including transportation of food products is prudent. The newborn pigs who are not yet exposed to the world outside the farrowing house would most likely acquire the virus from the trucks that came to pick up pigs headed for slaughter. Boots, tires, ramps, whatever. It takes so little of a virus to spread. PED is going to cost some piglets until the herd develops immunity but that was just this time. What about next time? Will the next virus be total war?

PED has exposed a vulnerability in the food chain, with the vector of attack including the backflow of pathogens from slaughterhouse to farm. PED is not zoonotic, but what about the next virus?

Systems exist to sanitize trailers where PED can be carried to farms, but what about the cab, and the driver’s gear? This is also possible. It takes an open mind, but it does not have to be prohibitively expensive or time consuming. New technology exists to sanitize vehicle cabs including ventilation systems where pathogens and molds could formerly hide. Your United Sanitizing applications engineer can show you how to detect and suppress viral, bacterial and fungicidal threats in vehicles, trucks, ambulances and aircraft. Call and find out now, because you don’t want a virus to punch you in the face.


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