Cabinet announces swine fever crackdown

Under strict measures to protect Samoa’s pork industry from African Swine Fever the Government has banned the importation and sale of pork sourced from countries affected by the deadly disease. 

In China alone, the disease has caused the death of an estimated 40 million pigs and lead to soaring pork prices of more than 100 per cent late last year. 

Since 2018 the latest outbreak of the disease has spread to more than a dozen other countries including Indonesia, Vietnam and Russia. The pandemic led to the slaughter of millions of pigs in countries as far away as Romania. 

The disease has not reached any Pacific nation yet. 

An estimated 10 per cent of Asia’s pig supplies were said to be affected by the disease, for which there is no vaccine. 

Under measures announced late on Friday by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, the importation of pork products from countries affected by the disease is prohibited. 

Any existing products for sale in stores sourced from countries in which the disease is active must be immediately removed from sale, according to the notice from the Ministry. 

“All expenses associated with the re-shipment or destruction of the consignment will be borne solely by the importer,” the notice warns. 

“Any breach of the conditions of importation and sale will be in contravention of the Quarantine (Biosecurity) Act 2005 and the Ministry may exercise its legal rights to enforce compliance. 

“Any non-compliance will result in 100 [per cent] seizure of regulated articles by the Ministry [and] may result in charges being laid.”

The measures were passed by Cabinet on 18 March, according to the Ministry’s statement.

Highly infectious and fatal, African Swine Fever swept through much of east and southeast Asia during 2019.

The Ministry said it would be conducting spot tests of pork products for sale in Samoa for the presence of the signs of the disease. 

Importers who are unsure whether they are allowed to import meat from a given country are encouraged to contact the Ministry. 

Cabinet’s decision follows a visit to Samoa last month by the United Nation’s Food and Agirculture Organisation which urged Samoan authorities to take stricter biosecurity measures to prevent the disease from entering the country.

The disease has a mortality rate of close to 100 per cent.

The A.S.F. virus is highly resistant and can survive for months in cooked and uncooked pork meat products. 

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