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China steps up ASF battle

China bans feeding of food waste to hogs in provinces with African swine fever; Romania asks for EU help.

China has banned the use of food waste as pig feed in provinces that have reported African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks as well as neighboring regions, the agriculture ministry said Sept. 13. The move is the latest measure to try to halt the spread of the disease, according to news wire reports

The use of pig blood as a raw material in producing feed for pigs also has been banned, China's Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs said in a statement online that Reuters cited.

The ministry will require producers of pig feed to submit samples for testing, with any feed testing positive for the virus required to be recalled from the market and destroyed.

ASF is a highly contagious disease that cannot be cured and has no vaccine. It can also be transmitted in pork products, animal feed or by people.

Additionally, China has banned the transport of live animals from infected provinces as well as neighboring regions to contain the spread, halting trade across the country and sending prices in some areas soaring, Reuters reported. It also has shuttered live markets in 16 provinces.

Banning the use of kitchen waste for pig farmers reportedly would hurt the small farmers, who often resort to scraps to cut costs, particularly when pig prices are low.

By law in China, food waste must be heat-treated to kill any bacteria or disease that could infect pigs, but that process is often skipped to save costs.

The ministry said that farmers must ensure that all food waste used for pigs in provinces not impacted by the disease be heated before being fed.


Live hog transport

As of Sept. 11, China has banned the transport of live hogs and pig products from 10 regions bordering the six provinces that have reported ASF outbreaks in recent weeks, a move set to further tighten supplies and roil prices in the world’s top pork consumer, Reuters reported.

The affected areas include the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Jilin, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shandong, Hubei and Shaanxi as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the city of Shanghai.

The 10 areas under the new ban slaughtered a combined 217 million hogs in 2016, around one-third of the country’s total.


Romania seeks EU funds

Meanwhile, in Europe, Romania's prime minister has asked a top European Union official for funds to deal with the financial effects of a serious ASF outbreak in that country, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Romania Premier Viorica Dancila told EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan that Romania needs the money "to reduce the unfortunate impact" the disease has had on Romanian farmers.

Romania's Veterinary Health & Food Safety Authority said Sept. 13 that 230,000 pigs had been slaughtered and that 900 outbreaks have been reported around the country, with the southeast the worst affected. It said it was processing some 3,100 claims totaling 47.6 million lei ($11.9 million), with 500,000 lei compensation already paid to farmers.

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