Taiwan bans pork imports from Japan amid swine fever scare

Taipei, Nov. 17 (CNA) The Council of Agriculture (COA) said Saturday that it has imposed a ban on imports of pork and related products from Japan effective immediately, after an outbreak of classical swine fever (CSF) in the country.

In a statement, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the COA said Japan reported a case of highly-contagious CSF, also known as hog cholera, in Gifu prefecture, to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Sept. 9.

It is the first confirmed CSF case in Japan for 26 years, since an outbreak in Kumamoto prefecture in 1992.

According to international media, the first CSF case led to a cull of 610 pigs after about 80 died.

On Nov. 16, Japan reportedly identified a second CSF case but has not yet reported it to the OIE. Currently, Japan remains on the OIE's CSF-free country list.

However, to protect Taiwan's agriculture industry the bureau announced it was banning imports of pigs, pork and related items from Japan starting Saturday.

CSF is a notifiable disease that impacts the international trade of pork. Currently, Japan is one of the top 10 pork-producing countries in the world.

Unlike African swine fever (ASF), which broke out in early August in China, CSF is contagious through the Pestivirus rather than Asfivirus, which leads to ASF, the bureau said.

In both case, the fatality rate is almost 100 percent, the bureau added.

The bureau said there are vaccines to prevent CSF but no vaccines for ASF prevention.

Japan exports about 40 metric tons of port to Taiwan a year, accounting for 0.06 percent of total annual Taiwanese pork imports, according to the bureau.

To prevent the risk of CSF spreading to Taiwan, the bureau is urging people traveling from Japan to Taiwan not to bring in meat products, warning that anyone found doing so faces a fine of NT$3,000 (US$97.15) to NT$15,000.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel