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EU Tightens U.S. Pork Blood Import Rules

Updated: 05/07/2014 @ 10:42am

European Union officials have stepped up their import rules for the treatment of imported pigs blood used in animal feed, amid rising concerns across the Continent over the spread of a deadly swine virus that has killed some 7 million piglets in the U.S. last year.

The European Commission said in a news release it has introduced a requirement that any blood products being imported into the 28-member bloc for use in animal feed must be pretreated at 80 degrees, and then stored for six weeks at room temperature so that any coronavirus is inactivated.

The Commission also added it would continue to monitor the ongoing situation, and an expert committee will meet again next month to discuss the matter further.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or the PED virus, has killed around 7 million piglets since being identified in the U.S. almost a year ago and has also struck in Mexico, Japan, and Canada.

Agri-investment bank Rabobank has warned that pork shortages as a result will be a key concern for many food shoppers across many countries over the next few months and also in the years to come.

"PEDv has been the driving force pushing up pork prices, especially in the U.S., to record highs," said Rabobank analyst Albert Vernooij.

U.S. hog futures have climbed 30% in the first-quarter and are up 45% from a year earlier, impacting pork users and consumers' ability to source enough pork, added Mr. Vernooij.

Rabobank predicts the outbreak of PED virus in the U.S., Mexico, Japan, and South Korea will cause global pork production to fall this year rather than an earlier expected 1.3% increase.

"In the U.S., where the PEDv outbreak has been most severe, Rabobank estimates that pork production could decline to midsingle digits (6% to 7%) in 2014 due to hog losses from the virus."

The virus, which causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, causes fatalities only to young pigs and poses no threat to human health.

Write to Neena Rai at neena.rai@wsj.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 07, 2014 08:21 ET (12:21 GMT)

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