A simple ham sandwich, salami or meat product could bring African swine fever (ASF) to our doorstep and it would be devastating, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.
He has issued a warning to people on holiday and visitors over the risks of bringing ASF into Ireland.
The Minister advised that “the virus that causes ASF is quite virulent and can spread by accidental acts of individuals, in particular inappropriate disposal of waste food”.
Don’t bring back your sandwich
The virus can survive for months in pork and pork products including cured meats such as ham and salami. The Minister is urging Irish people and visitors to Ireland not to take the risk of bringing meat products into Ireland from affected countries.
“Don’t bring back your sandwich; don’t bring back your salami”, the Minister urged.
The Minister reminded all those who keep pigs, even one or two pigs in their back garden “not to feed waste food that contains meat or meat products to pigs. A simple ham sandwich, salami or meat product could bring this disease to our doorstep and it would be devastating”.
ASF is spreading across the world with serious consequences for pig farmers, meat processors and exporters in the affected countries, the Department of Agriculture has warned.
Commenting on the risk of the disease being introduced into Ireland, the Minister advised that “while we have some advantages in that we are an island, there is no room for complacency here”.
He said the disease is not a threat to human health and meat is completely safe to eat but an outbreak of the disease would have an enormous impact on our pig industry. Ireland has almost 1.7m pigs and pig meat exports were worth €666m in 2018.
Trade in pigs
Only persons registered with the Department and issued with valid pig herd numbers are allowed to own or trade in pigs.
The Department is reminding all those who keep pigs not to allow anyone to bring meat products on to their premises or to come in contact with their pigs while wearing clothes they were wearing on hunting trips or visits to pig-related businesses in affected countries.
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