DAVID WALKER / STUFF
If African swine fever is found on a farm, all pigs will have to be destroyed.
Pork producers sounded the alarm about the threat of deadly African swine fever after it was detected in Australia.
The contagious disease, which spread rapidly through some European countries and Asia, was discovered in pork products that passengers illegally brought to Australia as well as by mail.
So far, it seems that it has not settled in the population of Australian pigs. The disease, which is sweeping parts of Europe and Asia, is devastating for pigs, but pig meat from infected animals is not harmful to humans.
In China, nearly 1 million pigs were killed to stop the spread of the disease, and France began to kill boars on its border with Belgium after an infected boar was found.
CONSULT MORE INFORMATION:
Farmers urge ban on pork from Belgium after the discovery of swine fever
* Pork industry alarmed by spread of African swine fever
* Animal welfare group warns of potential super-bacteria in imported pork
New Zealand's pork has sought assurances from Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor that authorities are stepping up surveillance after Australian conclusions.
"In the light of ASF's detection at the Australian border, we are asking the minister to ensure that our border measures are as strong as possible to prevent the entry of this deadly disease of pigs that would harm our industry," Eric said. Roy said.
The industry is worth about $ 750 million a year. However, the number of pigs has dropped from 388,000 in 2004 to 281,000 last year, and New Zealand now imports 60 per cent of its pork needs in 25 countries.
Australia is one of the largest exporters to New Zealand, carrying 5112 tonnes a year.
Australian authorities had recently increased their vigilance in response to the spread of the disease. After testing a sample of intercepted pork products, they found ASF contamination in about 5% of pork. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand also reported finding ASF in illegally imported meats.
The Australian Department of Agriculture did not disclose the types of products that had the disease.
Roy said detection in Australia confirmed the worst fears of pig farmers.
"The discovery of African swine fever in pork imported illegally to Australia literally brings the threat of disease on our doorstep."
Even a small amount of infected meat can pose a great risk to the industry.
"This disease is exceptionally resistant and can survive for a long time in untreated meats. The risk of entering New Zealand's pig population through contact with infected meat arriving in this country is a very real risk.
"The biggest threat to our industry is that infected meat enters the livestock population by feeding raw food remains, a practice that is banned but still occurs when amateur farmers are unaware of the risks. may come in contact with food waste, which has been a contributing factor to the ASF problem in Europe, "said Roy.
A spokesman for the Primary Industry Ministry said in December it had banned the import of personal consignments of cured pork products to New Zealand except Australia, Finland and Sweden.
He said fresh or frozen pork was imported from ASF-free countries, zones or regions. All other pork products imported into New Zealand underwent a heat treatment process, such as the processing of preserves, which destroys the ASF virus.
Last year, New Zealand imported 1600 tonnes of fresh pork from Belgium, which had a boar outbreak last year. Poland and Estonia, which also had ASF, exported to New Zealand as well.
A New Zealand pork spokesman said that to allow trade when an outbreak occurs, the World Animal Health Organization allows countries to have "zones, regions or compartments" with different disease states.
Therefore, Belgium has some areas that are known to have the disease, but only in wild populations, so it is described as ASF free.