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Strict biosecurity, feed hygiene, priority in fight vs. ASF

“EVERYONE’S priority should be strict biosecurity and feed hygiene in fighting the much dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF), which already resulted in billions of losses in the Philippines’ hog industry.”

Food and agriculture multinational firm Cargill Cargill’s advice came amid the Philippine government’s continuous efforts to contain the spread of the highly contagious swine virus, including the purchase of thousands of ASF test kits.

Sonny Catacutan, president of Cargill Philippines and managing director of Cargill Animal Health and Nutrition, said in a statement that “prevention is the only option because there is no cure”.

Cargill has recently embarked on an education and awareness campaign for both large and small-scale swine farm businesses and told them that it’s actually more important to focus on having strict biosecurity measures and feed hygiene within the backyard and commercial farms.

“Biosecurity is the first line of defense and it’s all about building multiple barriers,” said Jihoon Kim, senior technology lead for swine at Cargill Animal Health and Nutrition

“Farm owners, caretakers, and people working in this industry often forget about biosecurity. Many cases of ASFv [ASF virus] outbreaks stem from people carrying the virus into the farms. It’s important to protect swine farms from outside contamination and to keep a strict protocol for suppliers, workers, and animals entering the farms,” he added.

Meanwhile, when it comes to animal nutrition, while there are no cases that explicitly point to animal feed as the culprit for ASF infection, feed and feed ingredients have been identified as potential vectors of transmission and spread.

“Farm owners and hog raisers should pay close attention to the feed or food intake of the swine. Avoid feeding scraps or food waste and be very conscious about the ingredients that your animal feeds contain,” Kim said.

“Make sure that the animal feeds come from a reputable manufacturer which employs strict biosecurity measures both for personnel and the manufacturing process itself,” he further said.