APHA clarifies queries over new China export certificates

APHA has clarified some of the queries that have been raised regarding the new documentation required for exports to China, including regarding suspected bovine TB (bTB).

Producers sending pigs to abattoirs certified to export to China will now be required to use updated export certificates.

The new documentation, which came into effect on July 1 and will also affect vets and abattoirs, includes a declaration that the ‘pig herd is currently free of official disease restrictions due to notifiable disease of pigs’.

Producers must also confirm that there has no bovine TB (bTB) on the farm for at least six months. The new declarations have prompted concerns within the pig industry about possible uncertainty and delays, particularly where bTB was suspected but not confirmed, a not uncommon occurrence as it can take months to confirm cases in pigs.

Responding to queries from the National Pig Association (NPA), APHA confirmed that it would not be seeking retrospective certification under the new certificates.

Any meat processed prior to July 1 would have been certified under the conditions in place at the time and it would be ‘disproportionate and impractical’ not to grant the relevant certification, the agency said.

APHA also clarified the situation with suspect bTB cases. If bTB is suspected at post mortem examination, this triggers the imposition of TB restrictions, ‘making the pigs from that herd ineligible for slaughter for export to China until the matter is resolved’. The 7006ANNB and 7006ANNC declarations ‘cannot be signed until at least the culture returns back with negative results’, the agency said.

“If a herd is under TB restrictions, any pigs dispatched to the abattoir must be accompanied by a General or Specific TB licence. The OV at the abattoir therefore will be aware if the pigs are coming from a restricted herd,” APHA said.

NPA chairman Richard Lister said it was essential anyone who sends pigs to abattoirs that export to China are aware of the changes and acts on them. “This also highlights again the need for proportionate measures that reduce the time pig units are kept under TB restriction,” he said.

In summary:

7006ANNA is the updated vet declaration and vets will start using this as the current quarterly certificates expire.

7006ANNB is the updated owner-manager declaration and needs to be used by all farmers supplying China-certified abattoirs. No pigs will be accepted from July 1 without the updated version.

7006ANNC needs to be filled in by the producer and supplied to their vet as soon as possible to enable the vet to sign the updated vet declaration as they expire.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.