By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
OMAHA (DTN) — A USDA official updated members of Congress on Tuesday about work to keep African swine fever from infecting the U.S. pork industry.
Greg Ibach, undersecretary of marketing and regulatory programs for USDA, told lawmakers USDA has stepped up biosecurity and import control efforts for African swine fever. But Ibach also emphasized ASF is a difficult disease to control once it arrives.
African swine fever has hit hard in China, which has the world’s largest swine herd. The disease does not affect people and it is not a food-safety concern. However, the disease infects both domestic and wild hogs and can be transmitted by feed or other contaminated objects because ASF has a high environmental tolerance.
In China, the disease has wiped out roughly 20% of the pork herd. U.S. Meat Export Federation officials said Tuesday they are seeing little impact in major Chinese cities, but the global food trade expects China will eventually have significantly lower pork supplies.