Pork imports from some areas in China suspended

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has suspended the import of pork and pork products from areas in China with African swine fever outbreaks.

China has confirmed about 100 cases of African swine fever across 23 provinces since August last year, reported Reuters. Around 200,000 pigs on infected farms have been culled. Hundreds of thousands more in the vicinity of those farms have also been put down.

Only processed pork products from approved establishments in affected areas that have been heat-treated to inactivate the disease are allowed to be imported, said an AVA spokesman yesterday. At present, parts of China on the temporary ban list include Anhui, Fujian, Henan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Sichuan and Zhejiang provinces, and Shanghai.

The spokesman said: "While African swine fever is a highly virulent and contagious disease of pigs, it is not zoonotic (does not infect humans). However, the introduction of the virus to this region could have an impact on trade for countries in Asia."

Singapore imports 4 per cent of its total live, chilled frozen, processed and canned pork supply from China. Other countries that Singapore imports pork from include the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, according to the AVA website. Hence, there is minimal impact on the supply of pork and pork products to Singapore, said AVA. It will continue to monitor developments and take further action if necessary.

African swine fever, which originated in Africa, does not affect humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in domesticated pigs and wild boar that is nearly always fatal. There is no antidote or vaccine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2019, with the headline 'Pork imports from some areas in China suspended'. Print Edition | Subscribe