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Bacon Prices To Soar Even More: The Pig Diarrhea Virus Is Back For Round Two

Tyler Durden's picture


The last time we looked at the rather unpalatable issue of soaring bacon prices back in March, it was the direct result of exploding, no pun intended, prices of lean hogs stricken by the aptly named porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, which killed up to 7 million pigs and pushed the price of pork and its derivatives to record highs. We have bad news: according to Reuters an Indiana farm has become the first to confirm publicly it suffered a second outbreak of a deadly pig virus, fueling concerns that a disease that has wiped out 10 percent of the U.S. hog population will be harder to contain than producers and veterinarians expected. That's right, the PEDv, aka pig diarrhea bug, is back, and this time it may have mutated.

Prepare for round two:

The state and federal effort to stamp out PEDv has operated on an assumption that a pig, once infected, develops immunity and will not be afflicted by the disease again for at least several years. Likewise, farms that had endured the disease were not known to suffer secondary outbreaks.


But a year after the virus was identified, repeat outbreaks have occurred at farms but not been publicly confirmed before now. These so-called secondary outbreaks are a challenge to efforts to stem the disease, which is almost always fatal to baby piglets.

Apparently the state and federal effort ignored the possibility that a virus may, gasp, strike again! "Nationwide, PEDv outbreaks seem to recur in about 30 percent of infected farms, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians told Reuters, confirming for the first time the likelihood of repeated outbreaks." So it really the first time someone even considered this possibility.

Were they hoping Bernanke would just print more healthy pigs if things didn't go according to plan? Probably not, but now it is time to scramble to glue the pieces back together:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is fighting against repeated outbreaks by trying to extend immunity in female hogs through effective vaccines, Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford told Reuters at the general session of the World Animal Health Organization in Paris. "It happens and it could happen again," he said about secondary outbreaks of PEDv. "We need to practice good bio-security, cleaning and disinfection, all-in all-out, in order to break the cycle and prevent its re-emergence."

Something about shutting the farm door after the pig has died from diarrhea...

The one good news, so far, is that the repeat virus does not appear to be a mutant.

In the Indiana case, genetic sequencing showed the "exact same strain" of PEDv hit pigs at the farm in May 2013 and again in March 2014, said Ackerman, who collected samples from the farm.


Piglets born to sows that were infected for a second time have a death rate of about 30 percent, compared to near-total death loss among newborn piglets during the first outbreak, he said.


The incidence of the disease “re-breaking” on farms after it appeared to have been wiped out, indicates that the risk for ongoing severe losses from the virus is bigger than previously expected. The lack of long-term immunity also means hog producers must keep up strict bio-security measures to fight the disease, which has already spread to 30 states.

However, this leads to another just as problematic possibility: the natural immunity to the PED virus is far shorter than expected:

Preliminary results from studies on immunity, directed by the National Pork Board, confirm "immunity does appear not to be very long lived," said Lisa Becton, director of swine health information for the board. The board has collected more than $2 million for research on PEDv.




Veterinarians and others have been unable to predict the duration of immunity to PEDv in hogs following exposure, in part because the disease had never been in the United States before last year.


Ackerman had thought hogs would have a natural immunity to PEDv for three years after being infected because that is the case for a similar disease called Transmissible Gastroenteritis. "Just because a farm broke with PEDv last year doesn't mean that they are protected from re-breaking with it this year," he said in a telephone interview.


Ackerman said he did not know why the female pigs, or sows, on the Indiana farm were re-infected after being exposed to the virus during the original outbreak last year. At the time, they were about six months to a year old. The sows are having piglets and passing limited immunity on to their offspring, he said.


The farm "does an excellent job of sanitation," he said. "That's why it's so hard to figure out why they're struggling with it."


The repeat case of PEDv in Indiana puts to rest gossip about a re-break in the state that has passed from one Midwest farmer to another for weeks. Producers are on edge because no vaccine has yet been able to completely protect pigs from the disease.


PEDv is transmitted from pig to pig by contact with pig manure, which contains the virus. It can be transmitted from farm to farm on trucks, and many veterinarians also believe it is spreading through animal feed.

Summarizing it best:

The re-breaking is causing concern among farmers and meat packers across the country, as the PEDv outbreak continues to spread with no definitive solution in sight. "If you have that disease, it causes a huge death loss, and then you get it again," said Josh Trenary, executive director of Indiana Pork. "It's pretty clear why it would be concerning."

The other good news: "The virus does not pose a risk to human health and is not a food safety issue, according to the USDA."

It does, however, pose a huge risk to human wallets, especially those who enjoy eating pork or bacon, because one should certainly expect hog prices to hit fresh new all time highs shortly, only for the BLS to declare them hedonically overstated due to the return of that perfect substitute for pretty much everything: Pink Slime.

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Wed, 05/28/2014 - 22:44 | 4804142 yogibear
yogibear's picture

Another reason not to eat pork. There are substitutes which are more healthy.

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 22:46 | 4804149 booboo
booboo's picture

Bacon, the least wasted most waisted food on the planet

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 23:01 | 4804189 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture


Wed, 05/28/2014 - 23:08 | 4804214 Newsboy
Newsboy's picture

I had that virus.

It sucked.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 04:08 | 4804661 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

I found out about it, after I was shitting green...

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 23:00 | 4804191 limacon
limacon's picture

Angel to herders :

"You see that flaming bush ? "

They nodded dumbly .

The angel thundered : "This is Cattle country !"


The smallest herder meekly said :

"But we are swineherds"


The angel considered them and said :

"Your calves look a bit funny . 

Next time make sure they are properly branded ."




Wed, 05/28/2014 - 23:33 | 4804302 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Disaster was bound to happen.  We evolved from farmers growing pigs in outdoor sties eating natural foods to genetically engineered hogs grown in antiseptic factory buildings consuming chicken shit and newspaper and pumped full of antibiotics.

I'll bet the only pigs that will survive will the the half wild pigs the Department of Agriculture has been trying to eliminate.



Thu, 05/29/2014 - 08:47 | 4805032 Clycntct
Clycntct's picture

I'm dumbfounded by the negs on your posting the link?

Maybe proponents for the distribution of Pink Slime.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 09:59 | 4805382 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

everything, everyone, must get the vaccinations.

the new normal = vaccinated, be you two-leg or four.

from world-wide Gate'd Foundations, CIA'd NGOs, to yer local drug store & supermarket - everywhere has the vaccinations, waiting.

arm out, up!  NEXT.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 00:01 | 4804361 Seek_Truth
Thu, 05/29/2014 - 06:37 | 4804750 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

Oh GTFO..   Wild critters are infested with all kinds of nasty things like tape worms, leaches and viruses.

The problem here is that "Food Inc" has become so industrialized, centrakized and standardized that a virus like this can wipe out the entire herd.

Same thing goes for chickens and crops that are increasingly less geneticallyh diverse and thus more vulnerable to an epidemic that can wipe them all out.

Another sad part of all this will be all the pets thrown out  cause their owners can't even afford the food for them now.

Welcome to the new normal nightmare.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 07:56 | 4804882 samsara
samsara's picture

Everybody should watch Food Inc.


Food, Inc. is a 2008 American documentary film directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner.[3] The film examines corporate farming in the United States, concluding that agribusiness produces food that is unhealthy, in a way that is environmentally harmful and abusive of both animals and employees. The film is narrated by Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 08:00 | 4804890 Old Poor Richard
Old Poor Richard's picture

Same goes for produce.  Bananas might be wiped out, for the second time in 50 years, because of commercialization's obsession with breeding one kind and stuffing them together.  Hop varieties have also suffered such fate.

We're seeing outbreaks of diseases humans are supposedly vaccinated against, thanks to crowding kids into schools like Concentrated Pupil Indoctrination Operations.  Nature always finds a way.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 10:02 | 4805396 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

diversity is nature-all.

sameness is enForced.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 07:30 | 4804835 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

"Another reason not to eat pork. ..."

Dude, ya got that one right!

- Ned

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 22:45 | 4804145 Oliver Klozoff
Wed, 05/28/2014 - 22:44 | 4804146 Let The Wurlitz...
Let The Wurlitzer Play's picture

D Oh!!!


Wed, 05/28/2014 - 22:47 | 4804150 prains
prains's picture

pig virus meet bird virus meet faux pandemic, somebody wants to make money this summer

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 07:23 | 4804819 ebear
ebear's picture

It's a good thing pigs can't fly or we'd be in real trouble!

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 10:06 | 4805414 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

past couple of years, Bacon! everything, mass media efforting, particularly "social" networking.

then China buys Smithfield.

remember the pictures of pics floating down rivers?

welcome to the increasingly controlled, global world.

place yer bets!      

who benefits. . .

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 22:47 | 4804152 Handful of Dust
Handful of Dust's picture

"Mable, thar goes our pork jerky prices...thru da ruff! ... I guess it's back to that armadillo meat."

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 22:54 | 4804170 booboo
booboo's picture

Armadillo is a Texas Lobster and is sought after by many a hitchhiker. 

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 23:27 | 4804281 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

Armadillo and what do you get?  Dillos that kill.  Same goes for liberals.

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 23:29 | 4804291 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

Damn!  what was in that wine?

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 22:50 | 4804161 Thorny Xi
Thorny Xi's picture

What's the future to a hog?

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 23:02 | 4804195 limacon
limacon's picture

hog Heaven , of course .

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 23:12 | 4804233 PennilessPauper
PennilessPauper's picture

More pig shit=more methane just like in beyond Thunderdome!


Thu, 05/29/2014 - 08:57 | 4805076 Billy Sol Estes
Billy Sol Estes's picture

We don't need another hero...

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 23:36 | 4804310 Matt
Matt's picture

I cannot wait for the headlines proclaiming massive inflation when bacon prices soar as a result of this disease.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 03:46 | 4804642 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Yeah, it sure is funny how all of these "calamities" are striking and pushing up prices. Wink-wink, nod-nod.

Of course the real calamity is the FedRes and banksters' theft via "printing," commonly called inflation.

Never going to be heard from the propaganda media: "Today it was reported that an outbreak of inflation has hit the pig and bacon markets. Expect higher prices soon."

Pols, crats and banksters are hogs. "Pigs get fat, hogs get..."

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 07:37 | 4804852 kurt
kurt's picture

Anymore, every commodity is a FRACKING OPERATION

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 23:43 | 4804325 Hungarian Pengos
Hungarian Pengos's picture

I don't care if the price goes to $50 per 12-ounce, hedonistically-adjusted package size, I'm still buying bacon....pig candy goodness....mmmm

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 00:13 | 4804391 robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture

The one thing Jews and Muslims got right.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 01:24 | 4804518 sangell
sangell's picture

A god that would deny man a BLT is a false god.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 06:34 | 4804745 fxrxexexdxoxmx
fxrxexexdxoxmx's picture

Killing each other. Is the only thing either is good at.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 00:19 | 4804403 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

Its obviously linke dto climate change. We need a pig tax.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 00:20 | 4804406 nosoeawe
nosoeawe's picture

when did hillary, yellen and nuland have time to pose for a selfie?

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 03:18 | 4804621 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

last week...the Capital Trough....a lesbo-oinker bar...

Cuntalry ordered a Swinetini

Yellen thought up a ShalomBeard

Nuland ate nuts

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 03:49 | 4804644 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Damn! I nearly woke the wife laughing at that. LMAO

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 00:20 | 4804408 robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture

Reading further down I see that bacon is keeping 20% of the military from being in fighting shape. You could lose your country due to pigs.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 00:43 | 4804447 Manslavedave14
Manslavedave14's picture

Buying bitcoin's= a bacon rich future!!!!!!!

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 01:16 | 4804502 sangell
sangell's picture

Not that I eat at fast food places a lot but if hamburger is $6/lbs and bacon even more the bacon cheeseburger and Egg McMuffin are going to be too pricey for the proletariat to afford especially since I don't believe there is a 'pink slime filler available for bacon...yet. I do remember the ghastly 'Der Weinersnizel' and Doggie Diner restaurants from my youth though. I recall being stopped at a traffic light at Geary and Arguello street in San Francisco many years ago thinking I would pull in to the Doggie Diner located there and get one of their Chili Dogs. As I waited to make my turn a middle aged man burst out from the establishment, leaned against the street light and regurgitated his. I never again entered a Doggie Diner!

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 03:51 | 4804646 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

McDonald's can sell cake--McCake.

"Let 'em eat McCake."

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 01:24 | 4804519 basho
basho's picture

ohhh how sad. no more pork for the porkers. soylent green to the rescue.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 02:03 | 4804562 Thomas the Crane
Thomas the Crane's picture

Consider looking at the issue hollistically. If earth is an orginism, what would organism Earth do when/if it realized that too many chickens or pigs were being birthed and therefore throwing off the natural balance of earth? Perhaps, this is organism-earth's way of dealing with excess.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 02:14 | 4804570 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Send the Pig Shit to Washington D.C. It would make better politicians than we have.

Camaign slogan: Improve Your Life, Vote Pig Shit Into Office.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 05:51 | 4804710 The man with po...
The man with pointy horns's picture

Pig shite / cow pats 2016


Even if it's a little smelly...

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 03:16 | 4804619 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

Kinda puts the shits to Denny's Baconator specials

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 06:10 | 4804726 orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

Pork Bellies stopped trading in 2011 on the CME. 

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 06:53 | 4804768 Buster Cherry
Buster Cherry's picture

I call BS on this pig disease.

When is it ever going to jump the fence and wipe out the feral hog population thats always tearing up the ground around here?

If you want some pork, get a flashlight and hang a rifle out the window.

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