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NHF-DAERA-ASFMeat-NorthernIreland-1540.jpg DAERA
In excess of 300 kilograms of illegal meat and dairy products, detected in passenger luggage, has been seized by DAERA portal officials at Northern Ireland’s airports during June 2019.

DAERA reminds travelers not to bring meat back after ASF detected

A sample of these seizures was tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

This week the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs issued a reminder to travelers abroad not to bring any animal or plant products back into Northern Ireland.

More than 300 kilograms of illegal meat and dairy products, detected in passenger luggage, was seized by DAERA portal officials at Northern Ireland’s airports during June 2019. A sample of these seizures was tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments. The DAERA says while this type of discovery in itself does not pose a significant threat to the animal health status of Northern Ireland nor does it affect the disease free status from ASF it does reinforce the importance of the controls on personal imports of meat and dairy products enforced by DAERA officials.

“I make no excuses for repeating this message,” says Robert J. Huey, Northern Ireland chief veterinary officer. “The greatest risk is to our agri-food industry and our environment, as any introduction of pests, diseases and non-native species can have a potentially devastating impact. Ecosystems can be disrupted with significant knock-on effects on agriculture and the local economy.

“Imports of meat or meat products, milk and other dairy products are banned from most countries outside the EU. There are also strict controls on animal products that can be brought in from the EU, it is always advisable to check the rules before travel and refrain from bringing back animal products or plants that might be carrying pests or disease. Illegal products will be seized and destroyed. Furthermore anyone detected in possession of prohibited items risks prosecution and a fine. So please do not bring any of these products back to Northern Ireland.”

Diseases such as foot-and-mouth cause serious economic impacts and can be brought into Northern Ireland via infected products of animal origin. Animal-related products may also pose a risk to human health from diseases, residues or contaminants. Such diseases and pests can have a disastrous effect on livestock, crops or the environment.

There is currently a specific concern over the spread of ASF, which is largely attributed to pigs consuming contaminated pork or pork products. The risk to Northern Ireland has steadily increased due to the recent spread of ASF in Belgium, other European countries and South East Asia, including China.

While there is no human health risk from this disease, it is easily transmitted in pork products.  If ASF were to enter Northern Ireland it could have devastating effects, all exports of relevant agri-food products would be severely restricted, damaging the Northern Ireland economy and putting local jobs at risk. Meat and dairy products should not be brought into Northern Ireland in passenger’s luggage; such items may be seized by Portal Inspection Branch staff at local ports and airports.

Source: DAERA, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

 

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