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PED Pig Feed Link Inconclusive, CFIA Says

By Amanda Brodhagen,

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said on Tuesday that its scientific testing cannot confirm a connection between swine feed and the pig-killing disease known as the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus.

The disease is a pig only virus, which causes severe vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. While the virus can infect all ages of swine, it is especially deadly for young piglets, while older animals typically recover from the illness.

On February 18, the Agency conducted a study examining the potential link between the U.S.-origin porcine blood plasma used in pig feed pellets produced by Grand Valley Fortifiers, and as of March 3rd the Agency said that its testing were inconclusive.

“The study demonstrated that the porcine blood plasma in question contained PED virus capable of causing disease in pigs. However, the study could not demonstrate that the feed pellets containing the blood plasma were capable of causing disease,” the Agency said in a release.

An investigation was launched by the CFIA after the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food found traces of the PED virus in feed produced by Grand Valley Fortifiers. Once this was discovered, the company in question voluntarily recalled all infected pellets and reimbursed producers.

Origin blood plasma is a relatively new pig feed ingredient that is commonly used as a protein source for early-weaned pigs. Dried plasma is an animal based protein source that comes from pigs, and is used as an ingredient in some swine feed. The bulk of the plasma in North America is produced by American Protein Corporation, which is based in Ames, Iowa.

The disease was first detected in Canada on January 22, on a farm in Middlesex County, Ontario. Since then, the virus has spread to three other provinces including Quebec, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island. There are now 26 confirmed cases of PED in the country, with the majority of them in Ontario, with 24 infected farms.

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