Ontario-based feed producer Grand Valley Fortifiers has issued a statement explaining in more detail its recent decision to recall its pelleted nursery feeds containing blood plasma ingredients and to move exclusively to nursery pig feeds that do not contain animal byproducts.
Likewise, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed that testing has determined that the deadly porcine epidemic disease virus (PEDV) was present in samples of U.S.-origin plasma obtained at the third-party manufacturer for Grand Valley Fortifiers. It is now in the process of confirming a direct link between the feed and the spread of the disease. Plasma is used as an ingredient in feed pellets produced by the company.
In its most recent statement, Grand Valley Fortifiers said it made the difficult decision when it recognized that several of its clients were being affected by PEDV.
“When we made that decision there was no conclusive evidence that we were part of the contamination chain, but we acted as quickly as possible to protect our customers and the swine industry. As additional cases have been confirmed over the last week, we now believe that Grand Valley Fortifiers may have received contaminated blood plasma from a major North American manufacturer, and our hearts and prayers go out to all those who are now struggling with us to fight this new and aggressive virus,” said the company.
“From the beginning we have fostered a transparent working relationship with veterinarians and government authorities including The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Food (OMAF) and CFIA. They share our goals of containing PEDV and protecting our swine industry and after the first case was confirmed on Jan. 23 there was extensive surveillance sampling done on many industry connected sites and businesses. On Friday January 31st, when we first suspected a possible link between the spread of the virus and Grand Valley Fortifiers’ customers, we welcomed OMAF staff to swab our delivery vehicles. All 55 swabs tested negative for PEDV, confirming that our delivery truck bio-security protocols were sound.
“On Thursday Feb. 6th Dr. Doug MacDougald from South West Ontario Veterinary Services and the OMAF epidemiological team received new and surprising information from an unrelated incident that the virus may be able to be transmitted through feed. Grand Valley Fortifiers therefore assisted OMAF in gathering seventy six pelleted nursery feed samples and six blood plasma samples for PCR testing purposes. These samples were submitted to the lab Thursday night. On the night of Saturday Feb. 8, we were informed that five of the six blood plasma samples and three of the seventy six pelleted nursery feed samples tested positive for PEDV RNA. While these positive tests of PEDV RNA did not scientifically prove that the virus was being transmitted through feed, we decided that night to recall the pelleted nursery feeds containing blood plasma and issue a press release the following morning. In subsequent retesting by OMAF it was confirmed that all six blood plasma samples tested positive for the PEDV RNA but all of the pelleted nursery feed samples tested negative. PCR testing of additional samples continues,” said the feed company.
Grand Valley Fortifiers said it is doing everything it can to work with the government authorities to conclusively determine if its pelleted nursery feeds have been contaminated and unfortunately transmitted the virus to our valued farm partners. Specifically, it said, CFIA is engaged in bio-assay analysis in its Winnipeg laboratory where both the pelleted nursery feeds and the blood plasma ingredient are being fed to piglets to see whether they become infected with PEDV. Test results are expected in the next few days.
CFIA is also reviewing records of other imports of swine plasma and will work with the Council of Chief Veterinary Officers and the pork industry in Canada to proactively manage the possible risk of transmission through feed. As the investigation continues, additional actions such as recalls may be necessary to minimize the potential that feed could contribute to the transmission of this disease in Canada, said CFIA.
PEDV poses no risk to human health or food safety but is quite deadly to young pigs. Proper biosecurity measures remain the first and best line of defense for pork producers to protect against PEDV.
Grand Valley Fortifiers has dedicated a portion of its website to explaining its dedication to biosecurity and providing updates as the situation related to PEDV unfolds http://www.grandvalley.com/delivery.html
Member companies of the North American Spray Dried Blood & Plasma Producers (NASDBPP) issued a statement in early February in which they stated that they are "committed to producing safe, high-quality blood products for use in feeds for commercial livestock and companion animals."
In 1994, NASDBPP said its member companies developed Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to assure the proper sourcing, collecting and processing of animal blood and blood products to maintain safety. These GMPs provide multiple safeguards for the safety and quality of spray-dried blood and plasma products. NASDBPP members actively support continued research into the causes and control of this and other diseases.
NASDBPP further reported that based on current scientific evidence, it has been concluded that properly sourced, collected and processed porcine blood and porcine blood products are safe and do not contribute to the spread of PEDV.“Envelope viruses, like PEDV, are inactivated by heat treatment and do not survive in dry environments,” said NASDBPP.
* Feedstuffs staff members Tim Lundeen and Sarah Muirhead contributed to this report.