New controls on the import of pork will be rolled out in Britain from today (Thursday) amid concerns about African swine fever (ASF) spreading throughout Europe.

It follows intense lobbying from the meat industry as there has effectively been no checks on imports at UK borders since Brexit.

Sporadic outbreaks of ASF across Europe in recent months led to the conclusion that the virus is moving via “human mediated spread”.

A new risk assessment by the Animal and Plant Health Agency found there is “medium risk” of ASF entering Britain and the most likely route is a member of the public bringing pork products back from an ASF-affected country.

Under the new rule, it will no longer be legal to bring in pork products weighing over 2kg, unless it is produced to the EU’s commercial standards.

Government Minister Lord Richard Benyon said an outbreak of ASF was “one of the biggest threats” facing the UK pig industry.

“We are not complacent and this decisive and proportionate action will stop the entry of pork products that pose the greatest risk,” he maintained.

Nick Allen from the British Meat Processors’ Association said there had been a “worrying increase in small van loads of meat entering the UK from areas with ASF”.

“We’re extremely relieved that these new measures are to be brought in with immediate effect,” he said.