Representatives of Canada, Mexico, and the United States have spent a lot of time together these past few months with the negotiations for the new United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA). Those representatives had a lot of time to talk about a lot of topics, including livestock diseases.
Agriculture was a focus of the USMCA trade pact. While you have Ag negotiations happening, you can bet the representatives of all three member countries were paying attention to the news of African Swine Fever outbreaks in Europe and China. Dr. Jaspinder Komal is Vice-president of Science for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and he’s also the Canadian Delegate to the World Organization for Animal Health. Komal says when news of the disease’s spread came forth, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico immediately vowed to prevent it’s spread to North America.
Of course, good intentions only get you so far. Eventually, you must put a plan into action. Dr. Komal says Canada immediately put a plan in place to test any imports of pork products from Europe. They also put plans into place with producers in their own provinces.
It is going to take scrutiny from all three USMCA member nations to keep African Swine Fever off the continent. Hopefully, with extreme diligence, this can be achieved. Because if we cannot keep it away, it could have a devastating effect on all three Ag economies.