Compiled by Kevin Schulz
Mention of African swine fever has every hog producer on the edge of their seats, and readily implementing biosecurity measures to keep the virus from infecting their herds. But there are so many other ways the ASF and other foreign animal diseases can be transmitted, that biosecurity measures go beyond the farm.
In October, the so-called Beagle Brigade received positive press as agriculture specialists and a Beagle K-9 with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted a cooked pig in checked luggage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Pork and pork products from other continents are prohibited from entry into the U.S. to prevent the potential introduction of foreign animal diseases such as African swine fever, foot and mouth disease, classical swine fever and swine vesicular disease.
The importance of the work Beagle Brigade was further stressed as Taiwan continues the battle to keep ASF out of its country, especially with its close proximity to China, where the virus is spreading fast and furious.
Last week, Taiwan ups its efforts to keep ASF at bay after one ASF-positive hog carcass was discovered along the coast of Kinmen County.
An article issued this week by The Epoch Times says that 10 items of imported Chinese pork products have tested positive for ASF.
“Taiwan’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, an agency under the Council of Agriculture, reported that the 10 were out of a total 678 tested pork products originating from mainland China, according to a Jan. 6 article by Taiwan’s Central News Agency”
The Epoch Times article continues, “The Bureau pointed out that six of the 10 tested positive items were pork products retrieved from trash bins: three of which were all found at the Shuitou Pier in Kinmen, a group of islands governed by Taiwan that is offshore from the Taiwan main island; one at the Taichung International Airport; one at the Kaohsiung International Airport; and one at the Taoyuan International Airport. … The six items were likely thrown away by travelers before they passed through customs, as Taiwan currently has a penalty of 200,000 New Taiwan dollars ($6,490) for travelers who bring in pork products from areas affected by African swine fever.”
Huang Jin-cheng, deputy director of the Council of Agriculture, says that the 10 items originated from 10 different Chinese provinces and municipalities, including Fujian Province in southern China, Heilongjiang Province in the north, and Chongqing, a city in southwestern China.
Huang also points out in the Epoch Times article, that it took 65 days after the Council of Agriculture began testing Chinese pork products to identify the first infected pork product from China, which was found at Shutiou Pier on Oct. 31, according to Taiwanese media. But since then, the window of time narrowed to 13 days between the first and second detected cases, followed by 17 days between the second and third, and zero days between the fourth and the fifth.
Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture is tightening regulations on feeding waste food to pigs, now requiring “hog farms to be inspected by Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration before they can continue to use food waste to feed pigs. Farms must pass a review of their disinfection procedures for food waste, as well as air and water pollution control facilities,” according to the Epoch Times article.
Currently there are 357 hog farms on the Taiwan EPA list, allowing them to feed pigs leftovers. According to the Epoch Times article, there are another 1,155 hog farms that have been using food waste but are not on the list. These farms must obtain EPA regulatory approval, or switch to commercial feed. Otherwise, they must cease operations within a week.