Swine Specialists Ask USDA to Step Up Disease Inspections

African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to cause concerns in China. It has resulted in the deaths of 200,000 pigs on more than 50 locations since early August.

China confirmed 62 percent of the earliest outbreaks were related to feeding kitchen wastes to hogs, which has now been banned.

ASF is easily spread between pigs and can survive the curing process. However, the virus is no threat to human health and it does not cause food safety concerns.

But if a case was discovered in the U.S. there could be severe economic impacts.

Executive Director for the Swine Health Information Center Dr. Paul Sundberg says the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are working to make sure no meat or contaminated products get into the country through zoning.

He says, "FSIS and APHIS work together to make sure that any product that comes into the country either is stopped, if it's not safe, or it comes from a spot that they've reviewed and they know is equivalent in safety for U.S. importation."

But still, Sundberg says they have asked the USDA to step up inspections and awareness of African Swine Fever to help address the risk.

He says, "It's not a short term thing, it's something we've got to do long term because this isn't going to go away in a couple of months."

There are no vaccines or treatments that exist for ASF, infected hog herds are quarantined and depopulated.