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Food Safety Focus (146th Issue, September 2018) – Food Incident Highlight

African Swine Fever is Not a Food Safety Issue

Since early August 2018, there were outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in several provinces in the Mainland. ASF is not a human health threat because it is not a zoonotic disease.  However, ASF is a dreadful disease in pigs and can cause massive deaths of pigs in a short period of time.

In Hong Kong, all live pig consignments imported from the Mainland for human consumption are from registered farms and accompanied by health certificates. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) will check both the certificates and health status of live pigs at the border control point. Pigs admitted to the slaughterhouses are subject to further ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections. Imported meats must also be accompanied by health certificates issued by exporting places.  To prevent the introduction of ASF into local pig farms of Hong Kong, among other preventive measures, the FEHD has strengthened the cleansing and disinfection of livestock conveying trucks, lairages and slaughtering lines of pigs in slaughterhouses.

Although people will not contract ASF whilst eating pork, the public are still reminded to cook pork thoroughly before consumption to avoid contracting foodborne diseases.