BMPA: No biosecurity checks make UK borders vulnerable to ASFBMPA: No biosecurity checks make UK borders vulnerable to ASF
Technically inbound visitors to the UK are no longer allowed to bring in food items post-Brexit, however rule is currently being waived.
July 11, 2022
After a recent report from the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showing cases of African swine fever moving closer to the UK — jumping 600 kilometers across Germany and being discovered on a pig farm close to the French border — the British Meat Processors Association is calling for improved biosecurity checks at UK borders. The organization says the virus movement is most likely to have happened via contaminated meat products being discarded near the farm by people travelling into the area and could have been transmitted via something as innocuous as a meat sandwich.
The UK is currently free of ASF, but the BMPA says this latest development has prompted concern amongst domestic pig farmers and processors that the government's decision to shelve all border checks on food until further notice, leaves them vulnerable to an outbreak of the virus. And although less transmissible than foot and mouth disease, the consequences would be equally devastating for the UK pig industry.
Any farm where an infection occurs would mean the entire herd being culled, regardless of how many animals are affected. But on a wider scale, the arrival of ASF would cause an immediate ban on UK pork exports to some of the country's biggest international trading partners, including China. The BMPA says this would cause a significant drop in meat exports and cost the industry millions in lost trade.
Technically, inbound visitors to the UK are no longer allowed to bring in food items post-Brexit, however this rule is currently being waived and there is still little or no signage at ports of entry informing people of the new rules.
"We are calling on the government to make travelers more aware of the risks of bringing prohibited food items into the UK and to encourage them to dispose of those products responsibly before entry," says Nick Allen, BMPA CEO. "We would also like to see spot checks introduced as a further measure to improve biosecurity."
While these measures alone won't completely insulate Britain from ASF, the BMPA says any additional measures would be better than the open border policy that is currently in place.
Source: British Meat Processors Association, which 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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