China to Require Meat Processors to Test for African Swine Fever

Provincial market supervision departments will organize sampling of pork products to check for the ASF virus. ( Jennifer Shike, Farm Journal's PORK )

China pork processors who handle raw pork will be required to test for the presence of African swine fever (ASF) virus starting May 1, China’s agriculture ministry said on April 3. 

Processors should be inspected and show certificates to demonstrate that purchased pig products, including imported meat, do not contain the virus, Reuters reports.

Provincial market supervision departments will organize sampling of pork products to check for the virus, according to China’s agriculture ministry’s statement.

When ASF first hit China last August, the initial cases reported were in smaller, backyard operations. Swill feeding, also referred to as garbage feeding, is a common practice in backyard operations. It includes feeding meat-containing plate waste versus recycled bakery products or other non-meat containing food waste. This method holds appeal in China as a way to recycle food waste and uncooked restaurant leftovers that are readily available. 

Unfortunately, ASF is a highly resistant virus that needs to be cooked at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes to be deactivated in meat products. Although the virus is not harmful to people, it can be passed on to other pigs through consumption of food waste that is not properly processed.

This new requirement is one way that China hopes to slow down the spread of this deadly disease.

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