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Landmark to test feed ingredient for PEDv

Livestock and poultry feed processing firm Landmark Feeds is tightening its feed ingredient sourcing as suspicion falls on feed ingredients as possible sources of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv).

Manitoba-based Landmark, owned by feed firm Nutreco since 2007, said Friday the outbreak of PEDv on “at least 10” of the 16 affected farms in southern Ontario has been “associated to a single feed source” — and noted some suggestion that spray-dried porcine-origin plasma ingredients could be contaminated with PEDv.

The concern, Landmark said in a statement Friday, “was raised as a way of explaining how multiple farms without close geographic or other epidemiological connections could become infected in such a short time period.”

Ontario’s chief veterinarian Dr. Greg Douglas was quoted Thursday on Better Farming magazine’s website as saying the provincial ag department had detected PEDv genetic material in swine feed samples from several farms confirmed to have the virus. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, he added, had offered to test for infectivity in those samples.

Officials quoted in the same story emphasized that finding genetic material is not the same as finding a live virus.

Spray-dried plasma protein is used as a feed ingredient in baby piglet diets, Landmark said, to improve feed intake and “post-weaning performance.” The spray-dry process, the company said, “is able to destroy all recognized swine pathogens.”

Canadian slaughter-plant sources of plasma protein don’t contain plasma from infected pigs, Landmark said, as the virus “was only detected in Canada… for the first time about three weeks ago.”

Sources of plasma protein from the U.S., however, “may be sourced from slaughter plants where pigs previously infected with PEDv are handled.”

With that in mind, Landmark said Friday, only Canadian-manufactured sources of spray-dried plasma will be used in its piglet feed processing “until the situation is clarified.”

All lots of plasma used will be tested for the presence of PEDv RNA “prior to release and use in feed,” the company said. “If positive lots are found, the plasma will not be released for feed manufacture until it is confirmed that no risk of PEDv infection transmission exists for that lot.”

Landmark, which processes feed at five plants serving Western Canada and the northwestern U.S., said it is also “investigating the possibility” of extending PEDv testing to all animal protein meals used in its feeds.

Meanwhile, the company said, if a customer is “uncomfortable” with the use of spray-dried plasma protein in his or her piglet feed, Landmark offers formulations using “alternative ingredients,” though it noted “piglet performance may be compromised and cost of diets may increase.”

Landmark said it has also reviewed all its ingredients sourced from China, given that the same form of PEDv was seen in a Chinese outbreak in 2012 as in the U.S. outbreak which began last April and has since spread to hog farms in 23 states.

However, the ingredients sourced from China, including vitamins, synthetic amino acids and trace mineral products, contain “no carrier material” for PEDv, the company said. — Network

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