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CME: News of PEDV Upsets Trading

22 May 2013

US - News of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) shook the market despite pork being still safe to eat and no threat being posed to people.

Friday’s Lean Hog futures market had a wild ride as traders did their usual knee-jerk, sky-is-falling reaction to news of a pig disease, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

It really doesn’t matter the disease or its actual impact these days, markets just run to the downside at the mention of any problem. That, of course, is largely because some export markets do the same thing. And when those exports claim such a large share of US production, their impact is amplified.

The “disease du jour” is porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) which was identified in the US last week and has caused some significant death losses among baby pigs in several states.

This is not a trade-restricting disease like hoof and mouth disease, classical swine fever (also known as hog cholera) or African swine fever. This discovery should have no impact on US pork exports.

According to Dr Paul Sundberg and the Science and Technology staff at the National Pork Board, PEDV was first recognized in England in 1971 and has been identified in a number of European countries as well as Canada, China, Korea and Japan.

It poses no risk to either humans or other animals and is thus not a food safety risk. The disease is transmitted through feces and will look very much like transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) virus, an old nemesis which once took a heavy toll on US hog farms.

TGE has been largely controlled by the move of pigs indoors since a primary disease vector for TGE was birds. Modern hog barns keep birds out and thus protect pigs. As with TGE, PEDV is most devastating for baby pigs and will result in high death losses. Older pigs will be sickened but will recover and their immune response is expected to be relatively robust. Anyone working on or visiting hog farms is urged to observe STRICT biosecurity rules. 

PEDV is no danger to people. Pork is still safe to eat!

Further Reading

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