Tag Archives: National Pork Board

A recent trade mission to Asia by the National Pork Board International Marketing Committee built lasting relationships with international customers and elevated U.S. pork as the global protein of choice. The Pork Checkoff team toured Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau, meeting with pork processors, distributors and retailers, importers and traders, as well as in-country staff responsible for promoting U.S. pork in the region.

“Pork is the No. 1 most-consumed protein in the world, and that was obvious on this mission,” said Bill Luckey, a pork producer from Columbus, Nebraska, and chair of the Pork Checkoff’s International Marketing Committee. “As the committee allocates Pork Checkoff dollars to international marketing, it is important to see how these dollars are working today and how we might better target producer resources in emerging markets in the future.”

With U.S. pork production again breaking records in 2018, the Pork Checkoff is committed to growing pork demand both domestically and in international markets. Singapore and Vietnam are developing markets for U.S. pork and present huge opportunities for U.S. pork export growth in the coming years. In 2017, U.S. pork exports to Singapore increased almost 20 percent from 2016, reaching $17 million. Last year, the United States also exported over $11 million of fresh/chilled/frozen bone-in hams and shoulders to Vietnam.

“Consumers in Vietnam and Singapore are rapidly increasing pork in their diets, with pork consumption on trend to overtake seafood consumption in both markets as the No. 1 protein,” said Craig Morris, the Pork Checkoff’s vice president of international marketing. “This provides a great opportunity to capture a rapidly increasing market share, but we must first understand the changing consumer and retail landscapes in these countries to meet consumer needs and expectations.”

While in Singapore, the committee learned that U.S. pork often is positioned as a premium product, with high-end U.S. pork selling for three to five times more than the price of competitors’ products. Also, pre-prepared and processed foods are becoming popular as consumers seek convenience to meet their increasingly busy, urban lifestyles.

“U.S. pork can succeed in Singapore by delivering a high-quality product packaged in small portions and in convenient, ready-to-cook formats,” Morris said.

In Vietnam, committee members learned that popular wet markets, where fresh pork is sold on the streets, are declining as consumers seek the modern conveniences of full-service grocery stores. U.S. pork is viewed as a superior product in terms of taste and quality, and it is being marketed as such by U.S. import partners and buyers, Morris noted. U.S. pork is heavily featured in restaurants throughout Vietnam, especially by those with newer, more modern menu offerings.

“It’s surprising, but Vietnam is a booming market for American barbecue,” Luckey said. “Many restaurants feature U.S. pork’s reputation for superior quality, which they promote on menus to grow their business.”

Hong Kong also remains a strategic partner for U.S. pork. According to Morris, a significant amount of U.S. pork is sold in Hong Kong then shipped to mainland China, Macau, Vietnam and other Asian markets. As a conduit to other regions, Hong Kong is a critical market, with 38 percent of all of the food the U.S. ships there, in turn, re-exported, according to Morris.

“In this challenging trade environment, it is critical that we meet with our colleagues in Hong Kong and express gratitude for their continued partnership. Building face-to-face relationships is especially important in this region,” Morris said. “We met with 40 of the largest importers who play a key role In deciding what will be sold in retail stores, featured on restaurant menus and traded with other countries in Southeast Asia.”

The last stop on the international mission was Macau, which is home to some of the world’s largest casinos. As a large tourist destination, the country offers many opportunities for U.S. pork to be showcased to consumers from all around the world.

Luckey called the Asian trade mission a great success.

“Not only were we able to see the many different ways that pork is being promoted in these countries, but we came back with insights into how to grow our market share,” Luckey said. “The committee members are excited to share these ideas with our partners here in the U.S. and to follow up with customers we met to bring U.S. pork to their shelves and menus.”

DES MOINES, IOWA, Oct. 9, 2018 – The ongoing outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in China, Belgium and elsewhere, have crystallized the U.S. pork industry’s focus and collaboration on finding new ways to help protect the domestic herd from costly foreign animal diseases (FADs). One new practice designed to reduce disease transmission risk involves knowing exactly how long certain feed ingredients have been securely stored before allowing their use on pig farms.

As modelling in peer-reviewed research1 has made clear, it’s possible for swine disease viruses to survive in shipments of certain feed ingredients during transoceanic shipping to U.S. ports and even to inland points of feed manufacture. Based on this current research, a holding time of 78 days after the date of manufacture and bagging or sealing to prevent additional contamination (“born on date”) for amino acids, minerals or vitamins will degrade 99.99% of viral contamination. The holding time extends to 286 days for soybean meal to allow for similar viral degradation, once shipped to prevent additional contamination.

“Working with your feed supplier to get this type of information is yet another way to help protect your pigs from potential infection from a foreign animal disease,” said Dave Pyburn, DVM, senior vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board. “It’s just one more tool in our arsenalagainst African swine fever and other diseases that we hope will offer U.S. producers more protection against this growing global threat.”

The feedstuffs studied that have shown the potential to support virus survival include: conventional soybean meal1, DDGS1, lysine hydrochloride1, choline chloride1, vitamin D1, pork sausage casings1, dry and moist dog food1, organic soybean meal1, soy oil cake1, moist cat food1, and porcine-based ingredients2. There may be other feedstuffs that were not tested that could support survival of pathogenic viruses. Scientific study and proof-of-concept work in this area continues. To date, without an organized surveillance program, pathogenic swine viruses are not being identified in imported feedstuffs.

“It’s clear from the research that certain feed ingredients can support viral survival during conditions modeled after either trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific shipping to U.S. ports,” said Paul Sundberg, DVM, director of the Swine Health Information Center. “Based on these findings, we think it’s prudent that the entire U.S. pork industry look at this research and consider taking action to help us prevent a FAD from entering this country through this route.”

In a related area of disease prevention, the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Swine Health Information Center recommend that producers talk to their feed suppliers to get information about seven key areas.

  1. Describe the facility’s biosecurity program to minimize the spread of pathogens from people, vehicles and ingredients.
  2. Describe the facility’s employee training on feed safety.
  3. Describe the facility’s pest control program.
  4. Describe the facility’s traceability program.
  5. Describe the facility’s supplier approval program.
  6. Is the facility certified by a third-party certification body for food safety? Third-party certification programs may include the Feed Additives Manufacturers (FAMI-QS), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Safe Quality Food (SQF), Safe Feed/Safe Food, etc.
  7. Does the facility utilize ingredients that were manufactured or packaged outside of the United States?

To get a better handle on your particular farm’s risk of FAD transport via a feed ingredient, Sundberg advises producers to use the newly developed virus transport in feed ingredients decision tree matrix. “It was developed to help producers work with their feed suppliers to minimize risk from feed ingredients,” he said.

Aside from the specific feed-related ways reduce disease risk, Tom Burkgren, DVM, executive director for the AASV, advises producers to review their current on-farm biosecurity plan with their veterinarian. “While this is always a good thing to do periodically, it’s critically important now to find any potential weaknesses in your production practices so that you can take immediate steps to fix them to help protect your animals.”

The four swine groups continue to collectively reach out to USDA officials, including Chief Veterinary Officer Jack Shere, to see what can be done to enhance the protection of the domestic swine herd from ASF and all FADs.

“U.S. agriculture must bolster its defenses against the spread of animal disease as we face heightened risk,” said Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council. “These measures should include private-sector efforts like those that have informed this feed directive as well as publicly funded programs to guard against disease outbreaks that would immediately close export markets and threaten prosperity in rural America.”