News from the National Pork Board

National Pork Board approves first call of research proposals

Pork CheckoffTwenty-five research proposals were approved for funding by the National Pork Board as a result of the first cycle of submission calls. More than 105 projects in the areas of animal science, animal welfare, pork quality, preharvest pork safety, and swine health were received after the October 2004 call for submissions. Contract dates for all research projects began on May 1.

Research projects in the area of animal sciences include studies on sow longevity and reproductive performance of gilts and sows. Animal welfare projects include studies on behavior of newly weaned pigs, group-housed sows, and the effect of transport on pigs. Pork safety proposals include studies on Salmonella, antibiotic resistance, and detection of foodborne pathogens.

Approximately $250,000 ($US) was approved to fund swine health studies, including the pathogenesis of beta2-toxin-positive strains of Clostridium perfringens type A in neonatal swine; evaluation of diagnostic assays for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae; development of a universal, differential serodiagnostic test for swine influenza virus; investigations into the pathogenicity of pestivirus and pesti-like virus isolated from swine epidemics; improvement of swine disease and vaccine studies; and assessment of infectivity of asymptomatic carriers to understand the dynamics of M hyopneumoniae infection in reproductive herds.

A second call for submissions took place in May and a final one will take place July 13 to August 10, 2005. The final call includes calls for proposals in the areas of swine health, including porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, animal science, animal welfare, and the environment.

Information required for the submissions of proposals can be found online at

National Pork Board participates in Animal Feed Safety System meeting

National Pork Board Pork Safety Committee members and staff participated in a public meeting convened by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM) to discuss the development of a risk-based Animal Feed Safety System (AFSS) in April. Through this AFSS, the FDA-CVM intends to develop new regulations about how animal feed should be manufactured (including feed manufactured on-farm), labeled, distributed, and used, to minimize the risk to human and animal health. Industry comments and participation in this meeting were requested in the February 7, 2005 issue of the Federal Register.1

Also attending the meeting were feed and ingredient companies. The National Pork Board was the only commodity group represented, and pork industry concerns and suggestions were duly noted. The Checkoff's Pork Safety Committee recommends that FDA establish science-based and practical good manufacturing practices for the feed industry and on-farm feed mixing operations as an alternative to a risk-based assessment system and accompanying regulation.

The proposed AFSS can be found at [no longer available as of July, 2005; this page seems to be relevant: -- Dave Brown]


1. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration. Animal Feed Safety System: A Comprehensive Risk-Based Safety Program for the Manufacture and Distribution of Animal Feeds; Notice of Public Meeting. Fed Reg. 2005;70 (24):6448-6449. Available at Accessed April 13, 2005.

American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force on Sow Housing

The National Pork Board's vice president of science and technology, Dr Paul Sundberg, and Kathy Chinn, a producer from Missouri and past chairman of the Checkoff's Animal Welfare Committee, represented the pork industry at the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA's) Task Force on Sow Housing meeting.

The meeting had as a goal the development of the AVMA's position statement on sow housing. On the basis of a review of available scientific literature and with the industry's input, the task force has completed a document that, if approved by the AVMA's board, will be presented at this year's meeting of the AVMA.

It is expected that the AVMA's position statement will be that there are several welfare-friendly alternatives for sow housing in the pork industry and that one single housing alternative is not appropriate for all farm systems, types of production, and management systems.