Pork imports from disease-affected Poland more than double in a month


Gerard Hutching, Stuff.co.nz (New Zealand)

Jun 10 2019


Poland has hiked its pork exports to New Zealand by more than double in a month - just as it has been confirmed pigs on a farm there have been found to have African swine fever.


The discovery, and the fact imports have leaped so much, have alarmed the local pork industry which fears the highly contagious disease could enter the country.


It points out Australia has banned the import of pork from any country with an outbreak.


ASF is not a threat to humans, but once the disease finds its way on to a piggery, all the pigs have to be destroyed. There is no cure.


In March, Poland exported 159 tonnes of pork to New Zealand, or 3.2 per cent of the total sent from 21 countries. By April, the number had risen to 307 tonnes, making Poland the fifth largest source of pork, with 7.2 per cent of the total volume.


NZ Pork chairman Eric Roy said it appeared countries which were struggling with ASF outbreaks might be targeting the New Zealand market to continue to sell their pork.


"We're very concerned that pork from ASF-infected countries is being accepted by the New Zealand market, now that other countries are refusing to take their products.


"This is putting our industry at higher risk of exposure to a disease that can live almost indefinitely in frozen pork, and can be passed to the local pig herd through the feeding of untreated meat."


Belgium, which declared ASF outbreaks in the last year, also sent 345 tonnes of pork to New Zealand in March and April.


The infected Polish pigs were detected on a farm of 8000 on the border with Belarus.


Roy said New Zealand authorities had elected to accept pork from infected countries, expecting efforts within regions aimed at limiting further spread of the disease in Europe would also keep New Zealand free from ASF.


An MPI spokesman said pork products could be imported into New Zealand only if  measures were taken to ensure the products were free from ASF...