Plant ensures safety of blood plasma products

American Protein Corp. says it has dedicated trucks for bovine and porcine products and tests for PED

Hog producers remain leery of using porcine blood plasma in starter feed after the products were suspected of introducing the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus to Canada last year.

Veterinarians advised clients against using blood plasma products until more became known.

Bovine blood plasma appears to be a potential solution for producers who choose to once again include the protein in piglet rations.

“I still believe you need to have a discussion with your veterinarian as to how you need to implement this, if you do at all, but rest assured we’ve got some ability of understanding and confidence now in the process,” said Dr. Frank Marshall of Marshall Swine Health Services during a June 18 update for Alberta pork producers.

He said the industry recently met with American Protein Corp., which operates plants in Canada in Ver-cheres, Que., and Calgary. The plants process whole swine blood, but only the Calgary plant produces blood plasma products.

“The only type of plasma product for use in swine available from APC in Canada is the bovine origin from the Calgary plant,” said Marshall.

He said APC officials said they have changed operating procedures to guard against mixing bovine and porcine products by using dedicated trucks for each species and implementing a system of colour coding to minimize risk of error.

The Calgary plant tests its bovine plasma for PED virus and porcine DNA to ensure safety, Marshall said. It also requires finished product to sit for at least 14 days at 20 C, which is longer than is generally recommended to ensure any virus is dead.

Other plans for photo purification using UV light are also being tested at American plants for possible later use.

“Out west here, there’s more confidence in the use of bovine plasma at this time,” Marshall said.

“At this point, though, if the industry decides to flip the switch and use bovine origin plasma from the Calgary plant, it will only be able to supply 40 percent of our industry needs.”

Complete supply would require the company’s Quebec plant to restart its plasma production. It now only processes blood meal for use in the aquaculture and dairy industries.

APC is based in Ankeny, Iowa, and has operations in the United States, Canada, Spain and Northern Ireland.

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