Six countries have suspended the importation of Belgian pork following the detection of five cases of African swine fever in boars, the Belgian meat federation, Febev, indicated on Tuesday. The countries are South Korea, China, Taiwan, Belarus, Mexico and the Philippines, according to Febev CEO Michael Gore.
While African swine fever is not dangerous to humans, the six countries nevertheless decided to suspend their imports. “At negotiations between Belgium and third (non-EU) countries, specific conditions are imposed that sometimes relate to African swine fever,” Gore explained. “For these countries, it is certainly stated that Belgium has to be free of African swine fever, so there is no margin for negotiations; the imports are suspended.”
The temporary ban on Belgian pork is a blow to the sector. “China and South Korea represent about 45% of exports to third countries,” Gore explained. The Philippines are also an important market and this suspension was decided “whereas we were recently approved in the country,” he added.
Ukraine, South Korea, China, Belarus and Serbia have also decided to suspend imports of Belgian animal feed, the Walloon agricultural federation, FWA, said, based on information from the Belgian Feed Association (BFA).
Half, even two-thirds, of Belgian pigs are destined for export, says Géraldine Boseret, epidemiological veterinarian at the FWA. “France and Germany are the largest intra-community (intra-EU) market, which is continuing,” she explained. “Belgian exports account for 2 to 5% of European production.”
The hunting and feeding of game as well as moving around in the forest have been banned in an area of 63,000 hectares in the province of Luxembourg, where cases of infection in boars have been detected. That represents a quarter of the forested area in the province, according to the Tourist Federation of Belgian Luxembourg.