The US SHIP Biosecurity Technical Advisory Committee Chairperson is Dr. Montse Torremorell (University of Minnesota).

A number of biosecurity related working groups are moving forward in 2022 as an outcome of resolutions passed at the Inaugural US SHIP House of Delegates Meeting. A listing of the biosecurity related working groups and associated individuals providing leadership to these efforts have been listed below for reference. 

  1. Feed Biosafety: Dr. Jordan Gephardt (Kansas State University)
  2. Site Biosecurity Plans -Integrating Secure Pork Supply Plans: Dr. Montse Torremorell (University of Minnesota) and Chris Rademacher (Iowa State University)
  3. Live Animal Marketing Channels: Dr. Bret Marsh (Indiana Board of Animal Health)
  4. Sanitation of Livestock Trailers Departing Terminal Markets: Rodger Main (Iowa State University)

Scope and Purpose of Biosecurity elements of US SHIP ASF-CSF Monitored Certification:
Biosecurity is central to prevent the introduction and spread of ASF and CSF into US swine herds and to mitigate risks of disease transmission between herds in the event that the diseases enter the country.

The US SHIP biosecurity standards aim to leverage knowledge derived from various risk analysis that have quantified the risk of ASF/CSF introduction into the US, the collective swine industry knowledge and experience accumulated over the years, and on-going knowledge generated through research and practice.

The Secure Pork Supply (SPS) plan and the NPIP biosecurity plans provide an excellent foundation of biosecurity practices. In synergy with these practices, US SHIP has developed biosecurity guiding principles for comprehensive site plans that support the implementation of program standards (See Appendix I below for reference purposes). US SHIP seeks input from program participants to proactively identify areas where specific standards, or actionable requirements, can be implemented at the site level.

Longer-Term Aims of US SHIP Biosecurity Standards:

  1. Mitigate risks of the introduction of ASF/CSF into the country – prevention!
  2. Enhance FAD preparedness and reduce the impact of recurring endemic diseases of high consequence through the sustainable advancement of sanitary standards/biosecurity practices that mitigate disease spread into and between farms.
  3. Mitigate risks of disease spread within and from points of concentration and sales.

While advancing practices that mitigate risks of disease introduction into the country is the top priority, proactively developing and implementing an industry-informed and functional system prior to an ASF-CSF incursion will also enable participants and states to readily scale up the necessary testing to demonstrate freedom of disease across specified supply chains, areas, regions, and market segments throughout a Response and Recovery Phase.

Biosecurity practices that mitigate widespread indirect transmission of disease through unknowingly contaminated fomites, working and seamless systems of traceability, and well understood, workable, and effective disease surveillance are each critical aspects of animal disease preparedness and response.

The US SHIP ASF-CSF Monitored Certification Program aims to play a primary role in helping support the responsible movement of swine and continuity of business and trade outside of ASF-CSF control areas. Implementing uniform and effective systems for early detection and demonstrating evidence of freedom of disease are foundational elements needed to support ongoing interstate and international commerce over the course of a response and recovery period.

Whereas the sampling and testing requirements center on mitigating the risks of disease transmission through live animal movement, biosecurity practices are the primary means for mitigating risks of disease transmission through exposing susceptible pigs to unknowingly contaminated fomites (e.g., livestock trailers, contaminated feed ingredients, dead stock, equipment, and personnel).

Finding practical and sustainable means towards advancing current standards of practice that mitigate the indirect transmission of disease between farms and broadly across areas and regions is unquestionably foundational towards improving the current state of preparedness. The same systems, practices, and structure advanced to mitigate trade impacting disease related market risks, would also better position the US pork industry to make stepwise progress toward reducing the impact of recurring endemic diseases of high consequence.

As mentioned earlier, in the case of trade impacting diseases, safeguarding the health of all pigs across a given supply chain, area, region, and country is particularly important. There is precedent for willing trading partners to recognize specific areas (regionalization) as being free of specified diseases within an affected country. Recognizing the health status of commercial livestock by region (counties, states, or provinces) has long been a critical component of making stepwise progress over the course of large-scale disease control or eradication efforts domestically and internationally.

Due to the great diversity that exists across the US pork industry, the complexities associated with the broad topic that is “biosecurity”, the start-up nature of this US SHIP pilot project, and the need for having standards that are both relevant and practical across the breadth of industry participants, US SHIP takes a targeted approach to biosecurity with an initial focus on producer influenced standards of practice that aim to mitigate risks of ASF/CSF entry into the country.

Establishing a user-friendly and functional structure that enables a rapid start-up and encourages participation across the full-spectrum of US pork industry participants is also a critically important first-step towards achieving the longer-term goals and objectives of this endeavor.