Biosecurity Guide for Pork Producers
Preventing the introduction of disease agents is a continuous challenge for pork producers and veterinarians. When a farm or site is affected by disease the impact can be devastating to the health of the swine and the producers bottom line. If a foreign animal disease were to overcome the biosecurity safeguards we have placed on our farms and our country, it would have a devastating effect on all pork producers. To protect their own interests and those of their colleagues, producers need to initiate an appropriate level of biosecurity on their farms. A good biosecurity program helps to lower the risk of pathogens being transferred from farm to farm.
The following guide will help producers evaluate their farms by identifying biosecurity strengths and weaknesses. A plan should be developed to address areas that need improvement.
This guide is intended to encompass most biosecurity considerations. Obviously, some of these recommendations will not be applicable to all farms. Producers should use the guide to review their operation and determine where risks for pathogen introduction exist. This checklist is intended to be an educational tool that individual producers can use to understand risks and improve biosecurity protocols if at all feasible.
How to Use This Guide
Simply circle the responses that best fit your current biosecurity practices or situation. You will have more than one response in some areas. Each response is rated as Unacceptable, Questionable, Adequate, or Excellent.
Remember that your entire biosecurity program is only as good as its weakest point. Therefore, if you have one “Unacceptable” response, your herd is at risk for the introduction of a new pathogen even if the rest of the responses were “Excellent”.
There may be situations or practices identified in this guide as “Questionable” that are not within the producer’s control or cannot be changed. The purpose is to make producers aware of these additional risks and promote more cautious behavior to prevent pathogen introduction.
Additionally, we can only base our biosecurity recommendations on current knowledge. As our knowledge base increases, biosecurity recommendations will change. Moreover, there is always the risk of new, emerging diseases entering our country that may circumvent our current biosecurity recommendations. As the disease status of a country changes, so does its biosecurity protocols. Consequently, even if producers scored “Excellent” in all checklist categories today, they still might be at risk of pathogen introduction tomorrow. This guide offers concepts to reduce the risk of pathogen introduction based on current knowledge and the current disease status of our nation.
- Unacceptable – Based on current knowledge, your herd is at an extremely high risk of a new pathogen introduction.
- Questionable – Based on current knowledge, your herd is most likely at risk for the introduction of a new pathogen depending on your situation. Consultation with a veterinarian is highly recommended to determine if your biosecurity protocols in these areas should be changed to better protect your herd.
- Adequate – Based on current knowledge, your herd has logical biosecurity practices in place to prevent a new pathogen introduction. However, there is room for improvement and you may consider consultation with a veterinarian to review these areas and assess the value of making changes to further safeguard your herd.
- Excellent – Based on current knowledge, your biosecurity situation and practices are outstanding in these areas and you are at low risk of introducing a new pathogen into your herd.
Biosecurity Guide for Producers
The greatest risk of pathogen introduction to a herd is bringing in infected stock. Direct contact between infected and susceptible pigs is the most efficient way to spread disease. Isolation of incoming stock provides a safeguard against such transmission. Isolation allows time for the producer to observe new stock for signs of disease before herd entry. Isolation also gives the producer the opportunity to test animals for infection with certain pathogens and to acclimate or vaccinate incoming replacement stock against current herd diseases. Failure to isolate new stock offers the greatest risk of pathogen introduction to your herd.
- Do you use an isolation facility for incoming replacement breeding stock? ____Yes ____No
- If you answered no, are all replacements produced and grown within the breeding facility? ____Yes ____No
- If you answered yes to the last question, disregard the remainder of this section and go to the Indirect Spread section.
- If you answered no to both questions, your isolation procedures are unacceptable and you are at very high risk for introduction of a new pathogen into your herd. Please use the rest of this questionnaire as a guide to develop an effective isolation facility to protect your herd.
- If you answered yes to 1., continue with the remainder of this questionnaire.
- Is the isolation facility located…
a. Less than 300 yards from any other swine? (Questionable)
b. Greater than 300 yards from any other swine? (Adequate)
c. Greater than 2 miles from any other swine? (Excellent)
- Is the isolation facility…
a. Completely outdoors/open? (Questionable)
b. Indoor/Outdoor? (Questionable)
c. Totally enclosed (100% confinement)? (Excellent)
- Is pig flow through the isolation facility…
a. Continuous flow? (Unacceptable)
b. All-in/All-out without cleaning between groups? (Questionable)
c. All-in/All-out with cleaning, disinfection, and downtime between groups? (Excellent)
- Is the duration of isolation…
a. Less than 30 days? (Unacceptable)
b. 30-60 days? (Adequate)
c. 60 days or more? (Excellent)
- Do people caring for the replacements in isolation:
a. Go back and forth to farms not associated with the system? (Unacceptable)
b. Go back and forth to farms within the system? (Unacceptable)
c. Attend, then shower and change outerwear prior to returning to the system? (Questionable)
d. Attend last thing of the day and work within the system the next day following a shower, change of clothes, and overnight no contact? (Adequate)
e. Work only in isolation, no other contact with pigs? (Excellent)
- Considering health communications concerning the replacements in isolation:
a. No communication with source herd veterinarian (Unacceptable)
b. Periodic communication from source herd veterinarian (Questionable)
c. Pre-shipment communication from source herd veterinarian (Adequate)
d. Continued update of source herd health status to
recipient herd veterinarian (Excellent)
e. Recipient herd veterinarian communicates with source herd veterinarian prior to shipment of replacements and prior to entry of replacements into the breeding herd (Excellent)
- Health monitoring of replacements in isolation includes:
a. Blood testing only (Questionable)
b. Monitoring clinical signs of disease only (Questionable)
c. A combination of blood testing and monitoring of clinical signs (Adequate)
d. A combination of blood testing, monitoring of clinical signs, and monitoring of sentinel pigs during acclimation (Excellent)
e. Not routinely submitting sick or dead pigs from isolation for diagnostic work-up (Questionable)
- When blood testing animals in isolation for known pathogens of concern:
a. No animals are tested in isolation (Unacceptable)
b. A few animals are tested in isolation (Unacceptable)
c. A statistical sample of all animals are tested in isolation (Adequate)
d. All animals are tested in isolation (Excellent)
- Animals are blood tested in isolation:
a. Only on arrival (Unacceptable)
b. Once around 14 days post-arrival (Questionable)
c. Once just prior to entry into the breeding herd following a minimum of 30 day isolation (Adequate)
d. 14 days post-arrival and again just prior to entry into the breeding herd following a minimum of 30 days isolation (Excellent)
Note: Consult with your veterinarian concerning coordination of blood testing and vaccination to avoid confounding results.
- Considering isolation test results and interpretation:
a. Test results are often confirmed only by a phone communication (Questionable)
b. Test results are always confirmed via a paper or electronic communication (Excellent)
c. Replacements are moved into the herd before availability of test results (Unacceptable)
d. Replacements are moved into the herd before veterinarian interpretation of test results (Questionable)
e. Replacements are not moved into the herd until veterinarian interpretation of test results (Excellent)
f. Acclimation procedures have been developed with a veterinarian and these procedures are followed prior to movement of replacements into the herd (Excellent)
- Location: Considering the proximity of your herd site to the
nearest unrelated swine operation:
Less than 300 yards (Questionable)
300 yards to less than 2 miles (Adequate)
Two miles or greater (Excellent)
- Considering the proximity of your herd site to a public road:
Less than 200 yards (Questionable)
200 to 500 yards (Adequate)
Greater than 500 yards (Excellent)
Aerosol transmission of organisms for 2 miles or more has been described for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, pseudorabies virus, and foot-and-mouth disease virus. Ideally, groups of pigs could be sited greater than 2 miles apart from each other. Otherwise, siting buildings far enough apart that it is inconvenient to move people, equipment, or animals will help decrease spread of pathogens.
- Access deterrents
No biosecurity or information signs at entrance (Questionable)
No perimeter fence or gated driveway (Questionable)
No perimeter fence; driveway is gated and not locked (Questionable)
No perimeter fence; driveway is gated and locked (Adequate)
Buildings are secured with locks (Adequate)
An occupied dwelling exists on the site (Excellent)
Perimeter fence exists and driveway is gated and locked (Excellent)
- Pest/Wildlife control programs
No pest control program (Unacceptable)
Pest control program maintained by producer (Adequate)
Professional biosecure pest control program (Excellent)
Excessive debris and vegetation inside perimeter (Unacceptable)
Birds have access to pigs or feed in confinement unit (Unacceptable)
Dogs, cats, or wildlife have access to pigs and feed in confinement unit (Unacceptable)
Feed spills are cleaned up immediately (Excellent)
Rodents, feral animals, and birds can be sources of pathogens for pigs. Rodents can carry the agents that cause atrophic rhinitis, E. coli scours, Leptospirosis, rotaviral diarrhea, Salmonellosis, and swine dysentery. Dogs can spread swine dysentery and brucellosis pathogens. Wild animals can harbor brucellosis, leptospirosis, and pseudorabies. Birds can carry Bordetella and tuberculosis. There is also evidence that birds can transmit the viruses that cause classical swine fever, PRRS, influenza, and TGE to swine. Cats are a potential source of toxoplasmosis to pigs.
Note: Outdoor production units or production units with outdoor exposure cannot always control bird, dog, cat, rodent, or wildlife access to pigs or feed. Depending on location, producers with outdoor facilities should be aware of the need to be more cautious and more observant.
- Feed: Feed or feed ingredients are produced and delivered from a mill servicing other swine farms:
Feed is delivered to your site on the same load as other swine deliveries (Questionable)
Feed truck is dirty on arrival (either inside cab or externally) and enters farm site (Questionable)
Driver wears coveralls and clean boots to each delivery (Adequate)
Driver enters swine facilities during deliveries (Unacceptable)
Feed truck remains outside of perimeter fence and
driver does not enter farm (Excellent)
- Feed is produced internally and delivered with a dedicated truck (Excellent)
- Source of ingredients (corn, meat and bone meal, fish meal) is known (Excellent)
- Feed mill follows adequate biosecurity and quality control procedures (Excellent)
Note: Producer and the producer’s veterinarian should tour the feed mill servicing the facility to assess biosecurity risk at the mill.
- Transportation: If the unit has its own dedicated truck/trailer:
The truck/trailer is not routinely washed and disinfected (Unacceptable)
The truck/trailer is washed and disinfected only after slaughter or cull load delivery (Questionable)
The truck/trailer is washed, disinfected, and allowed to dry after every load (Excellent)
- If the unit hires contract haulers:
The truck/trailer is not washed, disinfected, and allowed to dry after each load (Unacceptable)
The truck/trailer is not inspected by the producer prior to loading pigs (Unacceptable)
Producer inspects the truck/trailer prior to loading of pigs (Adequate)
Producer inspects the truck/trailer for cleanliness prior to access to the site (Excellent)
The driver uses dirty coveralls and boots for each load (Unacceptable)
The driver uses clean coveralls and boots for each load (Adequate)
The driver enters the facility to help load the pigs (Unacceptable)
During loading pigs occasionally run off the truck back into the facility (Unacceptable)
The truck/trailer has a downtime after cleaning and disinfection when hauling pigs from another source (Excellent)
Farm has an offsite transfer facility (Excellent)
Vehicles can potentially transmit swine pathogens when manure containing disease agents is adhered to tires or the vehicle frame. There is evidence that Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, TGE, and Streptococcus suis can be spread by contaminated vehicles.
Note: Producers should reject dirty trucks/trailers and require them to be washed, disinfected, and allowed to dry prior to loading pigs.
- Purchased or delivered semen (for natural mating boars or heat detection boars – see Isolation Biosecurity section):
Semen is purchased/delivered from a boar stud of unknown health status (Unacceptable)
Semen is purchased/delivered from a boar stud with unknown biosecurity protocols (Unacceptable)
Semen is purchased/delivered from a boar stud following initial communication between stud veterinarian and herd veterinarian (Questionable)
Semen is purchased/delivered from a boar stud whose veterinarian continually communicates health and biosecurity information to your herd veterinarian (Adequate)
Parvovirus, PRRS virus, Brucella, pseudorabies virus, and many other disease agents have been isolated from semen of infected boars.
- Employee concerns
Employees have routine contact with other swine farms or pigs (Unacceptable)
Following contact with other swine farms or pigs, employees have a “down time” requirement before re-entering the farm
(If international contact, observe appropriate time for diseases present in countries they visited and the risk of potential human transmission of these diseases to pigs) (Excellent)
Employees are allowed to bring international food products to the farm (Unacceptable)
Employees are educated not to bring international food
products to the farm (Excellent)
Foot-and-mouth disease and influenza viruses can be potentially transmitted from people to swine. People wearing clothing or boots contaminated with manure from sick animals can also be a source of pathogens.
- Visitor concerns
“No Visitor” policy for non-service visitors (Excellent)
Visitors wear clothing they have brought with them (Unacceptable)
Visitors must wash hands and arms and wear farm clothing (Adequate)
Visitors must shower-in, shower-out and wear farm clothing (Adequate)
Visitors must shower-in, shower, out, wear farm clothing and have “down time” (If international visitors, observe appropriate time for diseases present in countries they are from and the risk of potential human transmission of these diseases to pigs) (Excellent)
Visitor logs are kept, visitors must sign-in (Excellent)
Visitors must park vehicles in a designated area (Adequate)
Visitors are not allowed to bring vehicles inside perimeter fence (Excellent)
- Tools and equipment
Tools and equipment are brought to the farm without cleaning and disinfection (Questionable)
All tools are cleaned and disinfected before being brought to the farm (Adequate)
All tools are cleaned and disinfected when moving between farm buildings (Adequate)
Tools and equipment are cleaned and disinfected before they leave the farm (Excellent)
Farm maintains its own sets of tools for repairs as much as possible (Excellent)
- Carcass removal
Carcasses are disposed of in a timely manner according to state regulations (Excellent)
Carcasses are kept in an enclosure that prevents
access by dogs, cats, or wildlife (Adequate)
Dead stock transporter observes all trucking biosecurity protocols (Excellent)
If rendering is used, the rendering truck picks up carcasses on site (Unacceptable)
If rendering is used, the rendering truck picks up carcasses at the entrance gate (Questionable)
If rendering is used, the rendering truck picks up carcasses off site (Adequate)
Farm equipment used to haul carcasses is not cleaned and disinfected prior to reentering the farm (Questionable)
Employees wear coveralls and boots designated only for hauling deads and do not return to the farm until they have washed their
hands, arms (or showered), and are wearing clean clothing and boots (Excellent)
- Cleaning and disinfection
Rooms are cleaned, disinfected, and disinfectant allowed to dry before pigs are moved in (Excellent)
Ceiling, walls, flooring, and equipment are all cleaned and disinfected between groups of pigs (Excellent)
Soap and hot water are used to remove all visible organic material
before disinfectant is applied (Excellent)
Disinfectants are selected at random (Unacceptable)
Disinfectants are selected based on label claims (Questionable)
Disinfectants are selected based on label claims and veterinarian recommendation (Adequate)
Disinfectants have been tested for effectiveness (Excellent)
The key to proper cleaning and disinfection is to first remove all visible manure from the room and equipment within that room. Hot water and detergents can make this job easier. Disinfection should occur only after all visible manure has been removed. Manure and urine can interfere with the efficacy of disinfectants. The diseases on your farm and the hardness of your water can also affect disinfectant efficacy. Paying attention to label claims for dilution and contact times and working with your veterinarian to check which disinfectant will work best in your situation and will help optimize disinfectant efficacy on your farm.
- Building Entryways
Entryways are never cleaned and disinfected (Unacceptable)
Entryways are routinely cleaned and disinfected (Adequate)
Entryways are routinely cleaned, disinfected, and always kept dry (Excellent)
- Supply and Product Deliveries
Delivery person observes all trucking and visitor biosecurity protocols (Excellent)
Delivery person sets packages on the entryway floor (Unacceptable)
Delivery person sets packages in a designated location off of the floor (Adequate)
Supplies and products are initially delivered to a supply room
away from the animal facility (Excellent)