Two research organizations in the United States say genetic material of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus in spray-dried blood plasma does not sicken piglets with the disease.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said in a statement it released Monday that a study it conducted "demonstrated that the porcine blood plasma in question contained PED virus capable of causing disease in pigs.
"However, the study could not demonstrate that the feed pellets containing the blood plasma were capable of causing disease.”
Grand Valley Fortifiers of Cambridge pulled its nursery-pig rations that included blood plasma from the United States off the market as soon as it learned that some researchers were speculating it could spread the disease.
Adding to the speculation was the wide geographic spread of outbreaks in Ontario on farms that had no apparent connections or common sources of traffic other than feed. That’s also apparently the case with the sole outbreak on Prince Edward Island.
The research on feeds in the United States was done at the federal agriculture department’s facilities and at the University of Minnesota.
Both have concluded that feed is not likely to spread the disease.
When fed to piglets, the USDA report says, those animals fed complete feed did not appear to produce the virus at all.
Those that were fed only porcine plasma did have PEDv present, although only “a couple of pigs” actually became ill with “a little diarrhea” out of 12 tested.
However, “these results are preliminary as the groups will continue to be followed and tested for antibodies in coming weeks,” the USDA report said.
Research at the University of Minnesota showed that feed samples that had tested positive for PEDv genetic material seemed to inoculate the piglets, and they did not become ill.
“The results from this bioassay indicate that feed can contain PEDV genetic material that is detectable by PCR but is not infectious,” the veterinary diagnostic lab there reported.