Skip to main content
Food Safety

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea

Discussion and measures taken by the EU

Temporary safeguard measures to allow for the safe imports of live pigs from the US and Canada have been endorsed by Member State experts. Live pigs from these countries entering the EU are tested for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) in order to protect a thriving European pig industry (22 million tons of pig meat produced each year, 13% of which are exported) from infection. Emerging PED viruses are circulating in North America affecting pigs and causing major losses particularly to the US pig industry.

The USA and Canada are authorised to export live pigs to the EU - 900 pigs with a high genetic value were imported in 2013. These measures follow discussions during the World Assembly of the World Organisation for Animal Health and complement temporary import requirements agreed on pig blood products that may be used for feeding piglets.

The Commission has also asked the European Food Safety Authority to carry out a scientific opinion on emerging PED viruses that will enable a more thorough review of the disease situation and risk mitigation measures. Member States were also reminded of the need to strengthen biosecurity at farm level.

The Member States unanimously endorsed the measures below (see point II.) with regards to the imports of live pigs and treatment of pig blood products.

Information availableindicates that the current epidemic is caused by two viruses:

  1. An Alphacoronavirus causing the classic "Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea". This is not a listed disease by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for international notification and therefore international standards do not exist for it. This Alphacoronavirus is present in the EU, there are no EU specific measures in place to control it within the EU and, in a consistent manner, also on imports.

  2. A new emerging deltacoronavirus. This new virus is a cause for specific concern, as there is no information available suggesting the occurrence of this virus in Europe.

  3. As in any high risk situation or when facing a new threat, the Member States were reminded on the need to strengthen biosecurity at farm level.

EFSA produced a Scientific Opinion on porcine epidemic diarrhoea and emerging porcine deltacoronavirus and made a Collection and review of updated scientific epidemiological data on porcine epidemic diarrhoea.

The current EU measures relate to:

  • The imports of live pigs as regulated by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 750/2014 of 10 July 2014 on protection measures in relation to porcine epidemic diarrhoea as regards the animal health requirements for the introduction into the Union of porcine animals

  • Treatment of pig blood products as regulated by Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/9 of 6 January 2015 amending Regulation (EU) No 142/2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and implementing Council Directive 97/78/EC as regards certain samples and items exempt from veterinary checks at the border under that Directive.

Schmallenberg Virus

Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is an emerging infectious agent of ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats and wild ruminants) named after the place where it was first isolated in the EU in November 2011.

Available information indicates that the SBV does not infect humans and the number of affected animals (mainly congenital malformations and aborts) is very limited compared with the susceptible ruminant population in the eight countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom) that have signalled confirmed cases of SBV.

Between 1 April 2012 and 31 December 2013, the Commission earmarked almost EUR 3 million to support 7 Member States to carry out scientific studies aiming to gather further information on SBV.

The studies were co-financed by the Commission at the rate of 50 % of eligible costs for the period 1 April 2012 to 31 December 2013 for the following countries: Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.

For more information, please refer to the International Scientific seminar on the Schmallenberg virus hosted by the Commission on 2 April 2012.

Related documents: