In June, over 650 pounds of illegal meat and dairy products in passenger luggage in airports were seized by Northern Irish authorities. African swine fever (ASF) DNA was detected in a sausage, raising alarms throughout the region.
This discovery has sparked a new awareness campaign warning travelers at United Kingdom (UK) ports and airports about the danger of bringing ASF, a deadly virus of pigs only, into the country through contaminated meat products, reports FarmingUK.
The new poster campaign will raise awareness of the disease and the risks involved. The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said Border Force officers enforce controls at the border on illegal meat by searching passengers, luggage and freight. Officers will seize and destroy illegally imported meat products.
“While there has never been an outbreak of African swine fever in the UK, we are not complacent and already have robust measures in place to protect against animal disease outbreaks. This poster campaign at UK airports and ports adds to the strict control measures we have put in place to ensure that no live pigs, wild boar or pork products from affected areas reach the UK,” said Lord Gardiner, Defra's minister for security in a Farming UK article.
ASF survives well in pork and can survive for months in smoked, dried and cured meats and years in frozen meat.
“That is why it is crucial that anyone travelling from affected regions takes this advice seriously in order to ensure that there is no spread of the disease to animals in the UK,” Christine Middlemiss, the UK's Chief Veterinary Officer, told FarmingUK.
A ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ ASF outbreak could cost the United Kingdom £90 million, the article said.
ASF continues to spread widely across Asia – including China and Vietnam – and parts of Central and Eastern Europe. The virus has also been reported throughout Sub Saharan Africa. ASF has caused global upheaval to the animal protein industry.
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