CFIA unable to confirm PED virus, feed link

Scientific testing in Canada has not be able to confirm a link between feed containing blood plasma and PED cases in Canada.

Scientific testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has not been able to confirm a link between hogĀ feed containing blood plasma and porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) cases in Canada.

In mid-February, CFIA conducted a bioassay study on U.S.-origin porcine blood plasma used in feed pellets produced by Grand Valley Fortifiers and determined that the porcine blood plasma in question contained PED virus capable of causing disease in pigs.

However, in its pursuing investigation the agency could not demonstrate that the feed pellets containing the blood plasma were capable of causing the disease. Among other things, the CFIA investigation included sampling and testing of feed, plasma and other feed ingredients from various Canadian and U.S. sources associated with farms in Canada on which PED has been detected. All test results on these samples were negative for PED.

CIFA said it will continue to analyze feed and feed ingredients, as well as epidemiological information gathered during the investigation. In addition, CFIA said it will examine any new lines of enquiry related to feed that may emerge, in particular from ongoing testing in Canada and the US.

The feed investigation was triggered Feb. 9, after Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Food (OMAF) testing found that U.S.-origin porcine blood plasma used in feed pellets produced by Grand Valley Fortifiers contained PED virus genetic material. As a precautionary measure, Grand Valley Fortifiers voluntarily withdrew the potentially affected feed pellets from the marketplace.

Samples of both the feed pellets and the porcine blood plasma ingredient were submitted to CFIA's National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD) for further testing. It was confirmed that both the blood plasma and the feed pellets contained PED virus genetic material; however, the bioassay study was required to confirm if this genetic material could cause illness in pigs.

CFIA has been closely monitoring the emergence of PED since the first cases were reported in the U.S. in May 2013. The agency said will continue to collaborate with provinces and territories to support their response to PED in Canada.

PED can spread rapidly through contact with sick animals, as well as through people's clothing, hands, equipment, boots, and other tools contaminated with the feces of infected animals. Therefore, considering the characteristics of PED virus and how it spreads, adhering to good biosecurity protocols remains the best measure to prevent further introduction or spread of this disease in Canada.

The PED virus poses no risk to human health or food safety.

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