Cold weather this winter propelled the spread of the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), and some analysts estimate more than 5 million pigs have been killed by the virus. Though it poses no human health risk, PEDv continues to spread.
Both large and small pork enterprises are left facing PEDv infections, including The Maschhoffs, one of the nation’s largest pork production companies.
According to the St. Louis (Mo.) Business Journal, The Maschhoffs are currently knee-deep in PEDv and uncertain about future pork production numbers.
“It’s been playing havoc with production supply,” said Julie Maschhoff, vice president of policy and public relations. Usually the supply of pigs and the supply of pork are easily predicted. “We know how many pigs are coming on to the market and then how much pork.”
However, PEDv interrupts this predictability. Currently, more than 20 percent of Maschhoff partner farms have reported PEDv infections.
The company has taken steps to combat the virus, including restricting access and washing truck tires as they enter and exit farms.
“We’re doing a lot of different things because we don’t know how it’s spreading, and we don’t have a vaccine,” Maschhoff said.
PEDv first came to the national spotlight last May. The National Pork Board announced at its annual meeting last week in Kansas City, Mo., it would provide additional funds for research in the fight against the virus.
“This has become one of the most serious and devastating diseases our pig farmers have faced in decades,” said Karen Richter, a Minnesota producer and president of the National Pork Board. “While it has absolutely no impact on food safety, it has clear implications for the pork industry in terms of supplying pork to consumers. Our No. 1 priority is to address PEDV.”