U.S. pork producers should be able to satisfy new requirements.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has set new maximum residue levels for veterinary drugs used in food production, including pork products.

Pork producers are advised to take any steps needed to abide by these changes which are effective May 29.

“Japan is a valuable export market for U.S. pork producers, representing 45% of all United States pork exports at a value of $1.070 billion. It is important that U.S. pork producers take this issue seriously,” says Phil Seng, chief executive officer of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

“The United States cannot afford to lose this essential market, and unfortunately, just one out-of-compliance animal could put this strategic market at risk,” cautions Seng.

U.S. pork producers are required to adhere to animal health product withdrawal standards determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Following product label guidelines should also satisfy most of the new Japanese policies.

But producers are advised to take the following steps to ensure their animal health product use fits the new regulations:

  • Contact your packer and find out if your hogs are destined for export to Japan, and therefore are affected by these new regulations.

  • Visit the Pork Checkoff's Web site, www.pork.org, to determine if medications used in your operation have withdrawal periods impacted by the new standards.

  • Contact your herd veterinarian to discuss changes in your herd health program if your use of animal health products is impacted.

Producers are also advised to work with their veterinarian regarding product choices in the finisher phase and to develop appropriate treatment choices, according to the Pork Board.

Producers may also want to review two Pork Checkoff programs: Pork Quality Assurance and Take Care — Use Antibiotics Responsibly. These materials can be accessed on the Internet at www.pork.org. or through the Pork Checkoff Producer Service Center at 800-456-7675.

Pork Academy Program

Pork Academy provides hog producers with in-depth seminars to help them stay competitive in the pork industry. The program is June 7 at the downtown Des Moines Marriott Hotel (515-245-5500), just prior to World Pork Expo.

Registration on-site is $150 and includes lunch, refreshment breaks and all materials. The Pork Checkoff-funded program runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

There are three concurrent sessions:

  • Session I covers swine health, reproduction and marketing;

  • Session II features animal care and behavior, business and financial management and swine nutrition; and

  • Session III looks at environmental management, production and management systems and human resource management.

For more information, contact the National Pork Board at 800-456-7675 or check the Internet at www.pork.org.

USDA to Launch Swine Study

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) is conducting its fourth national study of U.S. swine health.

From July 1 through Aug. 15, USDA representatives will be visiting hog producers to begin the first phase of Swine 2006.

Data will be collected from producers in 17 states who account for 94% of the nation's pork production.

The survey has six objectives:

  • Describe management practices used throughout production;

  • Determine prevalence and risk factors for pathogens in nursery and grow-finish;

  • Review vaccination and antibiotic-use practices;

  • Assess the prevalence of nonambulatory swine and risk factors;

  • Target practices that reduce manure nutrient content; and

  • Provide an overview of changes in U.S. swine management and health from 1990-2006.

Optional tests collect blood samples to estimate the prevalence of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome in the national swine herd.

A second optional blood test estimates the prevalence of swine flu, looking at new and traditional strains in unvaccinated swine.

A third testing option collects fecal samples to estimate the prevalence of salmonella and campylobacter.

Survey and testing work concludes in early 2007. Results help define industry management practices, help guide university and private research and help conduct economic analyses.

More information can be obtained by calling USDA, NAHMS, in Fort Collins, CO, at (970) 494-7000; e-mailing NAHMSweb@aphis.usda.gov or going to the NAHMS Web site: http://nahms.aphis.usda.gov.