African Swine Fever: Disease Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of James Wild James Wild Conservative, North West Norfolk

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of risk of an outbreak of African swine fever in the UK; and what steps the Government is taking to mitigate that risk through border controls.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Animal and Plant Health Agency regularly assess the changing global animal disease presence and its potential risk to the UK. The most recent assessments for African swine fever (ASF) were published on the Gov.uk website in March 2020 (for Europe) and May 2020 (for South East Asia and Oceania). The UK remains at medium risk for the entry of contaminated or infected products. The risk of exposure to the UK pig population is highly dependent on the level of biosecurity on individual pig premises and is low.

In terms of mitigating that risk, EU safeguard measures restrict the commercial trade of pork and pork products from regions that are affected by ASF so these cannot be traded with the UK. All countries outside of the EU who are currently approved to trade in pork and pork products with the UK are free of ASF. The import of pork products from non-approved countries is illegal. Defra continues to work closely with Border Force officials to crack down on illegally imported meat and UK Border officials target and search freight, passengers and luggage at the border and will seize and destroy illegally imported meat products. A specific communications campaign about ASF was launched in summer 2019 which included a new poster campaign introduced in UK airports and ports, to raise awareness of the disease and the risks of bringing back potentially contaminated products.

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