APHA issues fresh warning on ASF risk from Asian pork imports


By Alistair Driver, Pig World (UK)

June 11, 2019


The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has reiterated its warnings that African swine fever could reach the UK in pork illegally imported from Asia.


The agency’s latest update on the situation in Asia highlights how the virus, confirmed in China in August 2018, has also reached Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong and, most recently, North Korea, with potential for further spread.


The overall risk to the UK given the current distribution of ASF in Belgium, Eastern Europe and neighbouring countries is still set at ‘medium’.


However, the agency adds: “There are ongoing concerns around pork products from non-EU countries entering the EU in passenger luggage and then being discarded in areas where wild boar or domestic pigs are present.


“With regular direct flights to the EU and UK from China and eastern Asia, there is a risk of entry of ASF virus in products of animal origin (POAO) from Asia.


“Recent media accounts, in New Jersey (USA) in March and Japan in January, reported the movement of illegal pork products and ASF infected pork products from China in these countries respectively.


“Publicity campaigns are in place to inform the public and discourage individuals from bringing pork products into UK, with targeted messages to key people such as road hauliers, hunters, pig keepers and veterinarians.”


The risk of ASF introduction to the UK was raised to medium in August 2018, following the confirmation of a number of new outbreaks in Eastern Europe, and subsequent detection of ASF in wild boar in Belgium in September 2018.


Despite the spread of ASF across Asia, the current risk is still considered to be medium. However, the situation is being kept under review and depends on how ASF spreads both within China and across other parts of south-east Asia.


The agency has reiterated its advice to pig keepers and the public for keeping ASF out of the UK domestic pig and feral boar populations...