Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.23 7 Jun 2019


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Irish people are being reminded against bringing pork products into the country, in an effort to prevent the spread of African swine fever (ASF).

ASF is a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) says it is responsible for "serious production and economic losses".

"This transboundary animal disease (TAD) can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products.

"Furthermore, transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and fomites (non-living objects) such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives, equipment etc., due to the high environmental resistance of ASF virus."

The virus can survive for months in pork and pork products - including cured meats such as ham and salami.

The Government issued an alert in May, with the Department of Agriculture warning of "serious consequences" for pig farmers, meat processors and exporters in the affected countries.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed urged Irish people and visitors to Ireland not to take the risk of bringing meat products into Ireland from affected countries.

"Don't bring back your sandwich; don't bring back your salami", he said.

He also reminded all those who keep pigs "not to feed waste food that contains meat or meat products to pigs.

"A simple ham sandwich, salami or meat product could bring this disease to our doorstep and it would be devastating".

"A clear message"

There is no vaccine against ASF - with the only current solution being to slaughter animals.

Millions of animals have been culled across China and Vietnam.

Ireland's Chief Veterinary Officer Martin Blake told Breakfast Business a range of measures have been put in place on farms and in factories to help keep Ireland free from the disease.

But he says everyone needs to play their part.

"I think what we're seeing is chemical disease across two continents in particular - eastern Europe and into Asia.

"And when we see that China has 50% of the pigs of the world, and the whole of China now seems to be affected by the disease, you can appreciate the actual impact that's having on global pig production".

"It is important to actually stress that this is a disease of pigs only - it doesn't affect any other animals or humans".

"We're trying to emphasis: don't bring back pork or pork products into Ireland.

"I think that's a clear message we give to people travelling aboard nowadays.

"If we don't bring back pork or pork products we actually significantly reduce the risk.

"That is the primary advice we're giving: do not bring back pork or pork products into Ireland".


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