Last month, I provided a basic guide on the PEDv virus that has been a major blow to U.S. pork producers. Unfortunately, the bad news keeps coming.
To put things into perspective, the National Pork Producers Council estimates that 10% of the country’s pigs have been lost to the virus; the USDA estimates the number is between 5-7%. An estimated 7 million pigs have died due to the virus.
Consumers have no doubt felt the effect of the virus as well – pork prices have gone up about 12% in recent weeks, and the NPPC projects they could go even higher before this is over.
And now, France is threatening to stop importing pork from the United States. France’s deputy director general of the French farm ministry stated: “This disease worries us because the economic consequences would be dramatic if it hit our farms, in Europe and notably in France.
Japan, like the United States, struggled with an outbreak of PEDv in 2013. The USDA is working on a plan to stop the spread of the virus, including new mandatory reporting, but the agency is still struggling to find something effective.
Remember – the virus is not dangerous for human beings, nor does it cause any type of food safety concerns with pork products.
Obviously, France is trying to protect their own pork producers from suffering huge economic blows if an outbreak were to spread in that country. However, it would seem that pork producers here are home are definitely getting hit from all sides. Not only has this devastated the hog populations, consumers may decrease consumption with the increasing prices. And now, other countries are getting skittish about importing our products.
Hopefully, the USDA and our pork producers will find a way to stop the spread.
One of my Facebook followers gave me some updated information about the situation with France that has developed since I wrote and published the article. Here’s what she had to say:
A little clarification on possible action by France: France deferred to the European Union on the PEDV issue, on which the EU was meeting today. It was unclear what “pork products” France was considering banning, but most reports suggest that the ban would be on live hogs and pork byproducts that could be used in feed or pet food. As for live hogs, the U.S. doesn’t export a lot, but the ones it does must go through vigorous inspection and segregation protocols before they leave the country.
With respect to a ban on U.S. pork the EU might impose, it should be noted that the EU recently filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Russia’s ban on EU pork because of concerns over African Swine Fever. The Russians are on very weak scientific and legal grounds with their ASF ban, and the EU would be embracing the same type of non-science based, politically driven policy if it bans our pork because of PEDV.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.