Organisms that cause disease in pigs, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites, can survive in a range of materials, so they can easily hitch a ride and spread disease. Organic matter (shavings, manure), feed, water, mud and snow can all transfer diseases from site to site.

“While we don’t have all the answers, research has already told us much about the risk of cross-contamination through transport practices,” said the Pork Checkoff’s Lisa Becton. “Contaminated boots, clothing, tires, undercarriages, trailers, shovels, sorting panels and people’s clothes are all potential risks.”

She added, “Applying a line of separation and other farm biosecurity steps that address cleanliness will go a long way in offering protection during transport activities. Other activities, such as walking into a contaminated barn or packing plant, can increase disease risk because boots and trailers can become contaminated.”

Other steps to take include designating a trailer to transport specific pig groups, such as one for weaned pigs and another for market hogs.

“If finished hogs are transported to market through a service, make sure the collection moves from the highest to lowest health-status sites,” Becton said. “Invest in a truck-wash facility or gain access to one.”

To clean trailers, the priorities are to scrape out all organic matter, wash, disinfect, dry (heat if possible) and allow downtime between pig shipments. Overall, design pig flow to reduce cross contamination.

For more ideas, check out the Transport Quality Assurance® program online at:

Create a Clean Crossing

If someone must cross over a line of separation within a farm, market or livestock transport equipment, follow these steps:
Cover-up: Wear protective gear such as boots, coveralls and gloves.
Contain: Dispose of or store the contaminated supplies in a trash bag or plastic, covered bin. Have a decontamination plan for supplies and a disposal plan for any garbage.
Clean up: Change clothes and shoes and shower before leaving the facility or, at the very least, wash/disinfect your hands.