US: Smithfield "halts slaughter" at plant as PEDv outbreak deepens
US pork prices pushed up by PEDv outbreak
Smithfield Foods has reportedly been forced to suspend hog slaughter at a North Carolina facility due to an outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus at the site as the disease continues to sweep the US swine herd.
According to a Reuters report, the group has halted slaughter operations at its Tar Heel site. The facility has an estimated capacity of 34,000 hogs a day.
Smthfield is also reportedly reducing operations at its Clinton, North Carolina, plant due to supply shortages.
A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on whether production had been interrupted. "Smithfield Foods has a policy of not commenting on daily operations, minor disruptions, and openings and/or closings of processing plants," the spokesperson said.
US hog production has been hit by an outbreak of PEDv, which was first identified in May last year.
According to figures from the US Department of Agriculture, there has been an acceleration in PEDv cases in the US swine herd. USDA data reveals more than 300 new cases of PEDv are now being reported each week, a figure the body said underestimates the scale of the outbreak.
"Due to the continued spread of the disease and the likely losses of young animals, in February USDA made a 0.7% reduction in the forecast of 2014 pork production," the USDA said.
US pork prices have risen almost 45% in the last three months.
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