FRANCE - France has announced a ban on imports of live pigs and other pig products from the US, Canada, Mexico and Japan, in order to guard against Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED).
The disease has already killed around seven million pigs in the United States in the last year, according to Le Monde, while pork prices are at a record high in an already fragile sector.
Jean-Luc Angot, Deputy Director General of Directorate General of Food (EB) and chief veterinarian explained that the high losses of pigs in those countries are grounds for concern. If PED were to hit an area with a high density of pigs, such as Brittany, the effects on the industry would be dramatic.
The decision is scheduled to be announced officially on Saturday, 3 May, confirming the ban on imports of live pigs and boar semen - products that are imported by France from these countries - as well as feed ingredients based on pig by-products.
PED mainly affects piglets up to 10 days of age, continues Le Monde, and it is spread by direct contact as well as in feed and feed ingredients made from the blood of infected animals.
The report continues that, while China and Japan have imposed restrictions on imports of US pig meat, France is the first country in the European Union to do so.
According to Mr Angot, France proposed the adoption of an EU-wide embargo last month but, despite support from leading pig-producing countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, the European Commission rejected the initiative.
Mr Angot expressed his hope that France's national action will be extended across the EU.
In meetings earlier this week, pig industry professionals were warned to be on the alert for signs of the virus and to strengthen biosecurity measures to prevent the entry of the PED virus.
TheMeatSite News Desk