Irish farmers demand ban on pork imports from ASF-infected countries

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has called on the Irish Government to ban any pork imports from countries affected by African Swine Fever (ASF) in their commercial herd.

The calls follow reports that an Irish meat processor has been importing pork from Poland, where ASF is currently spreading in the commercial pig herd.

Given the presence of the virus in a number of eastern European and Asian countries, IFA pigs and pigmeat chairman Tom Hogan said that it was ‘completely reckless’ that any processor would import pork into Ireland from a country affected by ASF, which he warned risked jeopardising the health status of the national pig herd.

“The reputational damage that could potentially be caused to our important international export markets by such activity would be catastrophic. ASF can also be carried by pork, and the risk associated with this is unimaginable,” he said.

He called on all processors of pork to confirm that they do not import pork from Poland or any other ASF affected countries.

“Ireland is an exporter of the highest quality Bord Bia approved pork and bacon, and any importation of product into Ireland is pure opportunism at the best of times, but it is utterly reckless to the entire pig and pork sector under the heightened ASF risk situation,” he added.

He called on the Department of Agriculture to increase checks on any imported meat products into the country and increase vigilance and awareness of the potential threat of introducing ASF into the country.

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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.