Impose total ban on pork from China

It would be wiser to impose a more comprehensive ban as there is no guarantee that every case of African swine fever will be reported to the Chinese authorities.
It would be wiser to impose a more comprehensive ban as there is no guarantee that every case of African swine fever will be reported to the Chinese authorities.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

I read with some concern how China has confirmed about 100 cases of African swine fever across 23 provinces since August last year, and culled hundreds of thousands of pigs (AVA suspends pork import from areas in China with African swine fever outbreaks; Jan 4).

Despite this, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore has imposed only a partial ban on the import of pork and pork products, limiting the ban to areas in China with African swine fever outbreaks.

Would it not be wiser to impose a more comprehensive ban?

There is no guarantee that every case of African swine fever will be reported to the Chinese authorities.

Even if every case was reported, there would still be a delay between the start of a fresh outbreak and the eventual suspension of pork imports from the newly affected area.

During this window, infected pork products might make their way into Singapore.

Given that only 4 per cent of Singapore's total pork supply is imported from China, surely moving from a partial to a complete ban on Chinese pork products is likely to have a minimal impact.

Shane Ng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2019, with the headline 'Impose total ban on pork from China'. Print Edition | Subscribe