China has placed tighter restrictions on pig feed as African swine fever (ASF) sweeps across the country. Seventeen outbreaks of the deadly disease have been reported in seven provinces since August. Nearly 40,000 pigs have been slaughtered to prevent spread of the disease, according to a Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announcement on September 2. ASF is highly contagious and deadly and cannot be cured and has no vaccine. According to reports, China has banned the feeding of food waste and the use of pig blood as a raw material in pig feed production. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs also will require pig feed producers to submit samples for testing, and any feed that tests positive for the virus will be recalled and destroyed. Reuters reported that the new restrictions can hurt small farmers, who resort to feeding food scraps to cut costs. The law says food waste must be heat-treated to kill bacteria or disease, but that step is often skipped. China also has banned transporting live hogs or pig products from areas bordering a province with an outbreak. US pork industry taking precautions The disease isn’t only affecting pork producers in China; the U.S. pork industry is taking precautions too. Patrick Webb, director of swine health programs for the National Pork Board, told the High Plains Journal: “Having the increased incidence of African Swine Fever in China increases the risk and we have to be more vigilant that this is a good wake up call to know we are protecting our herd here in the United States, because we certainly don’t want African Swine Fever here.” The National Pork Board, along with the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are working even more closely together to help keep the United States free of ASF and all other foreign animal diseases (FADs). This includes focusing on the importation of feed ingredients, a key area of potential high risk of disease transport. View our continuing coverage of the African swine fever outbreak.