The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a joint project on Tuesday to develop a certification program for high-consequence swine diseases.
In coordination with the Iowa State University (ISU) Center for Food Security and ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, APHIS will develop and implement a pilot African swine fever (ASF)-Classical swine fever (CSF)-Monitored Certification Program, APHIS said in a release.
This program will be based on the foundation of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) program for U.S. commercial poultry operations.
Undoubtedly, ASF and CSF would pose tremendous threats to the pork industry if detected in the U.S. APHIS said this pilot would provide a framework and support staff to further safeguard the industry by ensuring effective, and active surveillance throughout the country and the ability to quickly zone infected areas, if disease were detected. It would also provide assurances to trading partners and consumers about our animal disease status.
A team of technical advisors and subject matter experts from across the U.S. pork industry will help draft program standards for consideration. Then, a group of industry stakeholders and regulatory officials will review, amend and determine the standards to establish the program’s content, direction and requirements for certification, APHIS said.
One of the main goals of the pilot is to not only create opportunities for state and federal agencies, diagnostic laboratories and industry stakeholders to collaborate directly to establish regulatory and diagnostic priorities, but also to establish a more efficient and engaged process for national swine disease control efforts.
U.S. pork producers and pork packing facilities in participating states that meet specified program requirements will be able to enroll in the program on a voluntary basis, the release said. APHIS will continue to weigh the potential of a more formal ongoing national plan to certify the health of U.S. swine.