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EU toughens rules on imports in response to deadly pig virus

Published on May 7, 2014 10:09 AM
 
This Aug 8, 2013 file photo shows barbecued meats, including pulled pork, being prepared during lunch in Washington, DC. The European Commission has approved new rules aimed at limiting the spread of a virus that has killed millions of piglets in the United States, highlighting the risk of animal feed products as a potential transmission agent. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

BRUSSELS/CHICAGO (REUTERS) - The European Commission has approved new rules aimed at limiting the spread of a virus that has killed millions of piglets in the United States, highlighting the risk of animal feed products as a potential transmission agent.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) has wiped out more than 10 percent of the US pig population since it appeared a year ago and has also struck in Canada, Mexico and Japan. The European Union has not been affected by this strain.

In the United States, the world's biggest pork exporter, losses from PEDv could cut pork production as much as 7 percent in 2014, according to research firm Rabobank, much steeper than government estimates of a 2 percent fall.

While the Commission stopped short of an outright ban of pig byproducts, which France considered, the new rules include a requirement that any pig blood products imported to the European Union for use in pig feed must have been treated at 80 degrees Celsius and then kept in storage for six weeks at room temperature to ensure any PEDv is deactivated.

 
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