Sunday, 23 September, 2018

China says battling swine fever is ‘complex and challenging’

Stephane Travert leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris France African swine fever reaches western Europe in blow to EU pork exports
Celia Hoffman | 16 September, 2018, 16:57

France's agriculture ministry announced reinforced surveillance in four administrative departments (counties) bordering Belgium and extra measures to protect pig farms and slaughterhouses.

In China, the world's largest pork producer, new cases of the disease have been detected almost every day over vast distances, prompting the government to take strict protective measures including a ban on the use of food waste as pig feed.

France is set to strengthen its defences against African swine fever, following the discovery of the virus in neighbouring Belgium.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert called for restrictions on hunting activities and also urged for increasing surveillance of livestock as well as wildlife. "Biosecurity in pig farms is essential and the FASFC ensures that it is permanently properly insured".

"The situation is taken very seriously by the various authorities and levels of power in Belgium and the measures are thoroughly implemented and followed", on his side, next to the belgian federal Agency for the safety of the food chain, in a press release.

"This health alert of maximum level, requires a collective mobilisation, particularly of breeders and hunters, to prevent the introduction or spread of this disease on our territory", he said. She added that the Commission was in close contact with Belgian officials.

More news: Isaac winds slow to 45 miles per hour , heavy rain, high surf expected

The meeting on Thursday came as more than a dozen African swine fever outbreaks have been reported across China since early August, mostly on small farms.

The European Commission said it will deploy a team of experts this weekend to coordinate with Belgian authorities over two case of African swine fever found in Belgium, and the health commissioner will meet regional ministers on Monday.

Belgium's food safety agency, AFSCA, said it had identified two wild boars carrying the disease around the southern village of Étalle, Belgium.

"We know that ASF can be spread through contaminated human food, so it is important to remain vigilant and discourage all farm workers from discarding human food into fields or areas where pigs or wild boar could get access".

"We need all pig producers, farmers as well as members of the public to pull together to tighten defences and to keep this disease out".

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