US opens up to pork imports from whole of Mexico

5 February 2018, at 12:00am

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined Mexico to be free from classical swine fever, and has therefore retracted controls on imports of pork meat and pork-containing products from the country.

Previous to the recent announcement that Mexico was clear of the highly contagious swine disease, only nine Mexican states were permitted to export pork to the US. Mike Doherty, senior economist and policy analyst at the Illinois Farm Bureau, spoke to Illinois News Network this week where he explains how the USDA reached this conclusion:

The US agency, Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), in charge of these kinds of things, went down to Mexico and actually inspected down there. They came back and decided that it is true – Mexico is free of this disease.

Doherty states that, in terms of food safety, Americans would be surprised at the processing abilities of Mexico and their improved standards. He adds:

We have to recognise when there is no reason not to buy their [Mexico’s] product.

He also assures US producers that, due to worldwide demand for protein, the increased exports from Mexico should not have a major price impact on pork exports.

Classical swine fever is one of the most economically-damaging pandemic viral diseases of pigs in the world. Many governments take it very seriously and adopt strict control policies, which include compulsory vaccination or slaughter and eradication policies.

In a susceptible (unvaccinated) herd almost all the pigs are affected. It causes generalised disease, including fever, malaise, lack of appetite, diarrhoea, paralysis, abortion, mummification and the birth of shaking piglets. Mortality is high.

Fortunately, there is only one serotype of the virus and attenuated vaccines are highly effective. Also, it does not spread on the wind or on insects or birds so standard precautions of farm biosecurity should keep it out. However, it persists in uncooked and cured meat and these should not be fed to pigs.

Source: Illinois News Network

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