Since it was first detected in China 14 weeks ago, African Swine Fever has spread rapidly to 16 provinces and/or territories across the Eastern half of the country (see map above).
This rapid dissemination has been blamed on various factors, including the feeding of kitchen scraps to pigs, and contaminated pig transport vehicles (see China MOA: Special Measures To Limit Spread Of African Swine Fever).
Also suspected has been contaminated commercial pig feed, prompting China's MOA to Issue New Regulations On Pig Feed To Curb ASF Spread two months ago, which required commercial pig feed manufacturers to submit samples to the government for testing.Up until yesterday, we've not seen any reports of contaminated feed, but that changed with the announcement from Tangrenshen Group - a major provider of animal feed in China - that feed produced by one of its subsidiary units had tested positive for the ASF virus.
The suspected African swine fever virus was detected in the feed of the company
Tang Ren Shen (4.840, -0.04, -0.82%)
The Beijing News (Reporter Xia Dan) aquaculture industry chain Tangren God announced on the evening of November 11 that on November 9, the relevant departments of Anhui Province detected suspected African swine fever virus nucleic acid positive in the feed samples submitted for inspection. The feed sample is produced by Jiangsu Shuyang Bimeimei Yingwei Nutritional Feed Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Tangren Shen.
In this regard, the Tang people said that the above-mentioned suspected African swine fever virus origin has not yet been determined, and the matter is still under investigation, and there is no clear investigation conclusion.
The official website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs also disclosed on November 10 that Qingyang County, Anhui Province, detected the African swine fever epidemic. It is understood that at 22:00 on November 9, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs received a report from the China Animal Disease Prevention and Control Center. After a diagnosis, a farm in Qingyang County, Anhui Province, detected the African swine fever epidemic. The farm has 8339 live pigs, with 96 diseases and 47 deaths. At present, the above epidemic has been effectively disposed of.
Although the Chinese article is somewhat vague on where the contaminated samples were obtained, Reuters is reporting `The discovery occurred during inspections after an outbreak of African swine fever on a farm in Qingyang county located in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui.'
Adulterated food products are not uncommon in China, and the black market for food bought in from Hong Kong, is robust.The infamous 2008 melamine adulteration of milk (see Forbes article The 2008 Milk Scandal Revisited) led to more than 300,000 babies falling ill, and at least six deaths. Despite new regulations, incidents of contaminated food products are so common, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) maintains a China Food Safety topic page.
Animal feed has been, as one might imagine, even less well regulated.Not only does this announcement raise new concerns about how well entrenched ASF has become in China's pig industry, it leaves many commercial pig farmers with the dilemma of how to source animal feed that is safe and free from ASF contamination.