U.S. hog farmers exporting to Mexico are going to have more hoops to jump through. In reaction to a multistage outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED, among piglets in the U.S., Mexico has officially imposed a ban on further hog imports. This will mean more restrictions and more inspections of U.S. hogs entering Mexico; clearing the border will only occur on a case-by case basis. PED is a fairly common illnesses among hog populations, with symptoms said to be similar to gastroenteritis. The current outbreak involves hogs in 13 states. It was first identified by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) on May 17. Mexico’s National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service (Senasica) has asked USDA for technical information about the PED outbreak and measures being used in the U.S. to prevent it from spreading. The Mexican agency also wants information on actions taken by the U.S. to ensure that exports are safe. PED is not a reportable disease under the rules of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). It is typically spread by animal-to-animal contact or by contaminated equipment they come into contact with. In announcing its action at the border, Mexico said it was implementing the following preventive actions, including:

  • Asking USDA for its risk mitigation strategies.
  • Increasing epidemiological surveillance of hog farms to spot any spike in pig mortality.
  • Keeping hogs imported prior to May 17 under quarantine.
  • Inspecting locations where hogs were brought into Mexico during the last three months.

So far, Mexico has no reported cases of the disease and plans what it calls “extreme vigilence to keep it that way. Officially called the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), the illness in hogs has no effect on port safety.” “Since PEDV is widespread in many countries, it is not a trade-restricting disease, but rather a production-related disease,” according to a National Pork Board statement.