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Newsletter 15th August 2005's Weekly Swine Industry Newsletter's Weekly Swine Industry Newsletter
Monday 15th August 2005
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Welcome to this weeks newsletter

* News Overview (link to ALL this weeks news)

We start this week in China, where authorities in the SouthWestern province of Sichuan have issued a media blackout order surrounding the fatal pig-borne disease, which has now spread to 10 cities with at least 200 infections and dozens of fatalities, according to NewsReleaseWire. "No amendments of Xinhua reports are allowed, including the headline," a local paper said, citing local Chinese reporters.

Chinese officials said today they had recalled some pork in the southern city of Shenzhen but tests showed it was not contaminated with bacteria that have killed nearly 40 people in Sichuan province.
     "For prevention we recalled, we examined them and we found nothing wrong with them, everything is within standards," an official from the agriculture department in Shenzhen told Hong Kong's Cable Television. Asked if the meat was tested for Streptococcus suis bacteria, he answered: "That's what we suspected."

Health officials in Hong Kong said they have diagnosed another person with the swine disease, bringing the total of people infected by the disease to eight. The disease was diagnosed in a 78-year-old woman who was admitted to hospital with a fever and hip pain on August 8, the officials said, adding that the Center for Health Protection has confirmed that the disease was caused by the Streptococcus suis bacteria.

Sichuan, which supplies 14% of the mainland's favorite meat, has been forced to suspend all exports of chilled and frozen pork from hard-hit areas to Hong Kong. Many mainland cities have set up tight screens to block shipments of pork from the province. Oversupply and higher feed costs have soured margins in recent months. "From June, pig farmers have been barely making it, especially in Sichuan and the southwest," a trading representative told a conference in Beijing last month.

South Korea’s meat imports rose sharply this year, with its dependency on products from the United States growing at a fast clip, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said Sunday. Korea also seeks to stabilize pork prices by increasing imports. Until July 20, the country imported 112,621 tons of foreign pork, surpassing last year’s 108,829 tons.

In the US, Monsanto Co., already a world powerhouse in biotech crops, is shaking up the swine industry with plans to patent pig-breeding techniques and lay claim to the animals born as a result.
     Agricultural experts are scrambling to assess how these patents might affect the market, while consumer activists warn that if the company is granted pig-related patents, on top of its tight rein on key feed and food crops, its control over agriculture could be unprecedented.
     "We're afraid that Monsanto and other big companies are getting control of the world's genetic resources," said Christoph Then, a patent expert with Greenpeace in Germany.
See Also: Greenpeace squeals at plan to patent a bigger, better pig

In their weekly review of the US hog industry, Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain say that the hot weather continues to reduce rates of gain on hogs. Consequently average barrow and gilt weights in Iowa and Minnesota were 1.3 pounds below a year earlier for the week ending August 6th. This is the first week that these weights have been below 260 since September of 2003, they say.

Canadian pigs can now be tested for their ability to produce lean meat through a molecular gene test.
     The test for the gene affecting lean mass production originally developed by Gentec N.V. of Belgium is now available for Canadian pigs through an exclusive license agreement with the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement. Research has shown that the Insulin Like Growth Factor 2 (IGF2) gene has a large effect on the production of lean meat.

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Stakeholders within the Canadian swine industry will have the opportunity to provide input on a draft blueprint for a national traceability system this fall. The Canadian Pork Council's Hog Traceability Working Group has scheduled consultations to give stakeholders an opportunity to provide input on a proposed national swine traceability system.

Britain's biggest supermarket is looking to recruit more outdoor pig farmers to cater for run-away pork sales, reports FWi. Since Tesco introduced a range of premium outdoor-bred pork products in April, demand has grown much faster for expected.
     The retailer believes the attraction for consumers is the welfare-friendly nature of the meat. “Outdoor bred pork is proving to be a real hit with customers,” said Steve Murrells, Tesco commercial director.

UK pig producers can review their current performance records and obtain expert advice and support from industry specialists, thanks to a new initiative named Recording Review announced today. The service from Agrosoft UK Ltd is open to all pig producers in the UK who will be able to obtain valuable advice and interpretation of their current herd records and recording plans, irrespective of the current system they currently use, according to Stackyard.

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Food manufacturer Northern Foods has launched a legal challenge aimed at stopping the Melton Mowbray pork pie gaining protected status. Campaigners had received a fillip in March when Defra leant its support to the initiative, which would prevent pies from outside the Leicestershire town from bearing its name.
     They claim the protected geographical indication status is vital to guard the traditional local recipe, which features a bowed pastry casing. The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association was poised to take its request for protection to Brussels, where it would have to be approved by ministers from all 25 member states.

Pork is becoming a more popular choice for people when they are eating out with the latest figures showing a 6% rise in consumption. The figures prepared by the TNS Family Food Panel on behalf of the British Pig Executive (BPEX) show a substantial improvement across the board.
     In particular, the number of times people chose pork chops when eating out was up 14% in 2004 compared with the previous year, and the number of times people chose sausage sandwiches was up by 24% over the same period.

The UK's pig industry is enjoying a period of stability, with prices amongst the best in the European Union, according to recent import and export figures from Customs & Excise and the MLC
     In the January-to-May period of this year, imports of pork at 162,000 tonnes were 4400 tonnes higher than in the corresponding months of 2004. However, exports of pork rose from 29,440 tonnes to 36,914 tonnes. Denmark remains the principal source of imports with a total of 64,916 tonnes compared to 50,175 tonnes in the same period last year.
     As far as exports of pork from the UK are concerned there has been a major growth in trade with the EU, rising from 25,652 tonnes to 32,346 tonnes. The Irish Republic was the largest market, taking 8800 tonnes compared to 5537 tonnes last year.

In Denmark, nine out of ten people infected with multi-resistant bacteria got it from foreign meat, imported in increasing amounts, reports the Copenhagen Post. Danish researchers are voicing their concern that imported chicken, pork, and beef contains much more dangerous bacteria than Danish meat.
     Studies by the Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research (DFVF) have found that meat products from foreign countries contained an alarming amount of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, presenting a health risk to consumers.

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* Feature Articles Overview (link to features listings)

We have 3 new features this week:

Effective Biosecurity: The Case for Compliance and Regional Perspective
By W.E. Morgan Morrow, North Carolina State University - This year at the annual meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians in Toronto, Canada, Dr. Jena-Pierre Vaillancourt of the Poultry Health Management Team, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montreal, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec gave an invited lecture: Effective biosecurity: The case for compliance and regional perspective.

Nutritional and Feeding Strategies to Minimize Nutrient Losses in Livestock Manure
By Mindy J. Spiehs, Regional Extension Educator - Livestock Manure Systems, University of Minnesota Extension Service - The livestock industry has undergone substantial changes in the past few decades. The poultry, swine, and dairy industries in particular have become increasingly concentrated. This has resulted in fewer, but larger, livestock operations throughout the country.

Energy Use in Pig Farming
By the National Pig Association - Pig farmers use energy in both intensive and extensive rearing systems in order to achieve their production goals. The main uses of energy are for building services, animal feeding systems and waste removal. Energy also plays an important part in animal welfare and environmental protection, most notably in waste management and emissions control.

Porcilis PRRS - The PRRS vaccine that pays off
Intervets Porcilis PRRS - The PRRS vaccine that pays off

* This Weeks Practical Tip (link to weekly tips page)
Extracted from
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Topic: The Management of Infertility
Subject: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - An Overview

This weeks tip looks at Fumonisins (Mycotoxins)- (4 of 7).

This weeks tip: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - Fumonisins (Mycotoxins)- (4 of 7).

NEXT WEEK'S TIP: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - An Overview Ochratoxin and Citrinin - (Mycotoxins)- (5 of 7)

* Finally...

Laboratory-Cultured Meat: Home, Home On The Strange?

      Researchers are dishing up the perfect conundrum for vegetarians - meat grown in a laboratory dish, not on the hoof.
     While it may be years before you savor laboratory-raised meat from your backyard barbeque, researchers say the technology exists now to produce processed meats such as burgers and sausages, starting with cells taken from cow, chicken, pig, fish or other animal.
     Cultured meat could be tailored to be healthier than farm-raised meat, while satisfying the increasing demand for protein by the world's growing population, proponents say.
     "The technology to produce something like a steak or chicken breast is still quite a ways off, there's a lot of technological challenge to producing something that has a structure to it" said Jason Matheny, a University of Maryland doctoral student.
     Growing a steak, for example, requires more than just muscle cells. Blood vessels, fat and connective tissue would also have to be grown. If too many muscle cells grow on top of each other, for example, the cells on the inside of the muscle mass will no longer be exposed to the nutrients in the growth medium and will die, Matheny said.
     In June, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said they had taken a step toward solving that problem. The researchers, studying the creation of replacement parts for humans, said they used a mix of cells to grow muscle tissue that had its own blood vessels. The human tissue was implanted into mice where they watched blood flow into the engineered muscle.
     Touro College bioengineer Morris Benjaminson said fish muscles cells cultured at his laboratory for NASA passed a "sniff panel," and he believes seafood might be the first to be laboratory cultured.
     "We actually did cook the fish meat we grew," Benjaminson said. "It looked, according to them, and smelled like the fish you can buy in the supermarket."

That's all for this week.


M.Hyo information center
M.Hyo information center

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