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Pig feed producer reports ASF contamination in feed

First report of feed supplies contaminated with deadly African swine fever

Chinese animal feed producer Tangrenshen Group has reported that pig feed produced by one of its business units has been contaminated with African swine fever (ASF), according to Reuters.

This is the first time feed supplies have been reported to be contaminated with the virus since outbreaks began to spread across China in August. Since then, there have been approximately 50 outbreaks of the disease in various parts of the country. Although ASF does not affect humans, it is highly contagious and deadly among pigs, cannot be cured and has no vaccine.

Tangrenshen said ASF was found in feed samples produced by its subsidiary, Bili Meiyingwei Nutrition Feedstuff, during inspections after an outbreak of the disease at a farm in Anhui province. The company said it is unsure of the origin of the disease and that it is investigating.

China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs had previously linked the country’s early cases of African swine fever to the feeding of kitchen waste. The ministry has now banned the practice, which it said caused 62 percent of the first 21 outbreaks. Because kitchen waste is cheaper than animal feed, many small farmers use it to feed their pigs. 

According to WATTAgNetcom'sTop Feed Companies database, Tangrenshen Group controls more than 40 subsidiaries throughout China involved in feed, farming and meat processing, primarily concentrated in pork. The group owns the Camel and TRS brands of feed. The company owns 40 feed mills and produced 6 million metric tons of animal feed in 2017.

Neighboring countries worried

Bloomberg reported last week that neighboring countries in Southeast Asia have increased border surveillance after several ASF outbreaks in China’s southwestern Yunnan province. ASF recently was detected at a small pig farm about 125 miles from China’s border with Myanmar and Laos and near Thailand.

Researchers believe the virus has the capacity to spread farther across China and into other countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar. Vietnam’s animal health department has said it is closely monitoring trade at the border as that it will suspend imports of pig products from affected regions.