IN an effort to prevent a porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) outbreak, France and the European Commission considered restrictions on imports of live pigs, semen and other pork products for animal feed, such as dried blood plasma, from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Japan.
Early last week, France announced a complete ban on imports of live hogs, semen and pork byproducts; however, the official restrictions were postponed until after the European Commission's meeting on the issue had been held.
At the May 6 meeting, the commission reviewed the latest scientific information on PEDV and live hog import records. The officials decided not to issue a complete ban since only 250 animals were actually imported from Canada and the U.S. last year, and no live pig imports are scheduled for this year.
Instead, the commission issued new rules that require pork byproducts used for animal feed to be treated to 80 degrees C before they can be imported. Additionally, the products must be stored for six weeks to eliminate any virus that may have contaminated the blood after treatment.
France has not made an official announcement on if it will enact the outright ban. "Additional measures will be adopted if necessary, depending on the evolution of the health situation and the available scientific data," France's Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement after the meeting.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service will be working with Europe to clarify the new rules.