The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) released new import requirements for unprocessed grains and oilseeds, as well as associated meals destined for use in livestock feed, sourced from countries that have reported an active case of African Swine Fever (ASF) in domestic or wild pigs within the last five years.
The new requirements went into effect on March 29 for specific ingredients identified to be the highest risk based on a comparative analysis of livestock feed imports conducted by CFIA. At this time, CFIA is not looking at import controls on any other feed ingredients.
“Although feed represents a much lower risk vector for the introduction of ASF into Canada compared to travelers and the importation of illegal meat products, the serious implications to the domestic swine herd if this disease were to enter the country has resulted in a thorough evaluation of all potential risks, including feed,” a CFIA statement says.
The import requirements were deemed justified in an effort to minimize the risk of ASF introduction into Canada. CFIA is monitoring the global situation and is taking a proactive and collaborative approach to prevent ASF from being introduced to Canada.
"I sincerely appreciate the CFIA's use of science to positively influence policy to help protect their country from the risk of foreign animal diseases. Now we need the U.S. and Mexico to participate equally and promote a continental collaboration," says Scott Dee, DVM, director of research at Pipestone Veterinary Services in Pipestone, Minn.
Canada has also implemented additional preparedness planning through a National Response team dedicated to ensuring appropriate laboratory and field response capacity are maintained.
"This is really good news for Canadian and North American pork producers," says Egan Brockoff, DVM, veterinarian with Prairie Swine Health Services. "It provides another layer of defense in reducing the risk of an ASF virus introduction to Canada without creating significant burden to the sector. It is great to see the CFIA and the Minister working so closely with the Canadian pork sector to find practical and valuable ways to protect our sector from foreign animal disease."
However, feed imports are only one of the many measures that are being considered or implemented by the Canadian government to prevent ASF.
Given the short timeframe given by CFIA, any shipments that departed on or before March 29 will not be subject to the new requirements. As well, any shipments planned for export shortly after March 29 will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by CFIA for acceptance into Canada.