Equipment & Technology

Virus Alert, Biosecurity in Place Ahead of Upcoming IPPE in Atlanta

LinkedIn Pinterest Tumblr

As the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta draws near, show organizers are taking extra cautionary steps to guard against African swine fever (ASF), which has plagued parts of Africa, Europe and Asia and greatly reduced pork production in China. Higher levels of biosecurity will be in place during the January 28-30 exhibition at the Georgia World Congress Center to prevent the introduction or spread of this deadly virus and potentially other harmful diseases.

IEFP officials are asking all international travelers from countries positive for ASF to remain free from contact with live pigs and other livestock for a minimum of five days before visiting the show. In addition, biosecurity measures will be utilized around the convention center during the expo, including foot cleaning mats and hand sanitation dispensers.

As this story was being written, there was no word about separate vigilance that may be employed to defend against the deadly coronavirus that the sweeping Asia and has now been detected in the United States. On January 21 a Washington state resident who had returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province, where the outbreak was first documented, was diagnosed with the flu-like illness. He arrived on a flight that landed in Seattle-Tacoma on January 15, before major US gateway airports began screening travelers from East Asia for pneumonia-like upper respiratory symptoms.

The number of cases reported in the PRC rose to 543 on January 22, as the death toll climbed to 17. Elsewhere in China, the virus has been detected in 13 provinces and provincial-level cities. Three cases have been identified thus far in Thailand, and one each in South Korea and Taiwan.

Chinese officials have confirmed that the coronavirus is being transmitted between by humans, as people who have not traveled to Wuhan but have had close contact with patients have been infected.  “We are still in the process of learning more about this disease,” said Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

It was announced on January 23 that Wuhan, the seventh largest city in China with a population exceeding 11 million people, will prohibit all transit out of and within its boundaries starting at 10 AM Thursday morning. According to a Nikkei dispatch, the restriction will indefinitely ban travel emanating from airports, train stations and inter-city bus depots, as well as shut down public transit within the city. Residents should remain in Wuhan “except under extraordinary circumstances,” said the announcement.

The World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency meeting  in Geneva on Wednesday to determine whether the outbreak should be declared a global health crisis. No decision was taken, pending review of more data on Thursday.

The Guardian newspaper in Britain reported that Professor Neil Ferguson’s team at Imperial College London, which conducts disease modelling for the WHO, has increased its estimates of likely cases of coronavirus at the end of last week from 1,700 to 4,000.  “However,” it added,  “they say there is considerable uncertainty and the true number could be between 1,000 and 9,700.”

It is believed that the coronavirus originated in an animal and spread to humans at a seafood wet market in Wuhan that also sells wild birds, civets and snakes. Some trained observers have likened the virus to SARS, which caused great panic in China during 2002 when more than 8,000 people were stricken by the severe acute respiratory syndrome and nearly 800 died.

“What we know is coronavirus causes pneumonia and then doesn’t respond to antibiotic treatment, which is not surprising, but then in terms of mortality, SARS kills 10 percent of the individuals,” said Leo Poon, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.

Record IEPF Exhibitor Space Sold

Meanwhile, 32,000-plus visitors from approximately 130 countries are expected to attend the IPPE, of which more than 8,000 delegates will hail from abroad. Over 1,360 exhibitors will show their stuff across 573,000 square feet of space in three halls, making it the biggest exhibition in the event’s history.

Held annually in Atlanta, the International Production & Processing Expo is jointly sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and the US Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY). As always, the focus will be on innovation as buyers and sellers of the latest food processing machinery, technology and services are brought together.

Among major equipment suppliers to the frozen food industry at the show will be:

GEA, Stand B-5107; Heat & Control, B-3835; Marel, B-4207; Ashworth Bros., B-5555; Baader, B-6635; BluePrint Automation, B-5944; Buhler, A-621; CarneTec, B-5645; Cabinplant A/S, B-5319; Challenge-RMF, B-5501; Charlottetown Metal Products (CMP), B-4045; Dantech Freezing Systems, B-8065; DSI Freezing Solutions, B-8150; ERIEZ, B-7628; Intech LLC, C-9343; Intralox, B-5735; JBT, B-5035; Lyco Manufacturing, B-4730; Meyn Food Processing Technology BV, B-5413.

Also exhibiting are: Petro-Canada Lubricants, B-8543; PMI, A-455; Reiser, B-6315; Rice Lake Weighing Systems, B-4845; RHM Freezers, B-5501; TOMRA, B-4207; Triangle Package Machinery Co., B-5725; Stellar, B-4544; Tippmann Group/Interstate Warehousing, B-7150; Urschel Laboratories, B-4735; Wire Belt of America, B-8335. – Reported by John Saulnier