Meat & Livestock News

NZ Swine Producers Urge for Enhanced Import Guidelines Following ASF Outbreaks

Asian veterinarian working and checking the pig in hog farms, animal and pigs farm industry

New Zealand’s pork sector is sounding the alarm, urging the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to reconsider its current import policies in light of the recent African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in Sweden. 

The call for immediate action was triggered by the Swedish Veterinary Institute’s (SVA) announcement on 7 September, confirming the country’s first cases of ASF, with additional instances subsequently reported.

NZPork, the body representing New Zealand’s pork industry, is pushing for an urgent review of existing biosecurity protocols in nations that currently export pork to New Zealand.

Brent Kleiss, the Chief Executive of NZPork, has voiced concerns about New Zealand’s ongoing acceptance of pork from countries where ASF has been identified.

This is especially troubling as several countries, including Armenia, Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Ukraine, have already suspended pork imports from Sweden in response to the ASF outbreak.

Kleiss warns that the New Zealand market is at risk of being flooded with Swedish pork if swift action isn’t taken. He points to past scenarios where pork imports from Belgium and Poland increased significantly when other countries closed their markets due to ASF concerns, while New Zealand continued to allow imports.

Although ASF is highly infectious among pigs, it poses no health risks to humans. Pigs can become infected through various means, including the consumption of untreated scraps from imported pork products.

Kleiss has criticised MPI’s current risk assessments, stating that the situation has evolved considerably since these assessments were last updated. He stresses the importance of ensuring that countries affected by ASF have stringent biosecurity measures in place.

In summary, New Zealand’s pork industry is at a pivotal moment, requiring immediate regulatory adjustments to mitigate the risks associated with ASF.

The situation calls for a comprehensive review of current biosecurity measures and import regulations to ensure the ongoing safety and sustainability of New Zealand’s domestic pork market.