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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Dec 29: Sarawak has banned the import of live pigs and pork products from European countries and China since Dec 26 due to the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in these countries.
State Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) deputy director Dr Stephen Gabriel said pork products either in smoked, salted, soaked in brine sausage and other means of processing are included in this ban.
However, it is understood that canned pork products are not banned as they are produced under very high temperature.
In a statement sighted by DayakDaily today, Dr Gabriel said his department would continue to check on shops and other premises to ascertain that these pork products were not sold to the public.
When contacted, Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Sarawak director Datu Stanley Tan stressed that this matter was under the DVS purview.
Yesterday, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Sim Tze Tzin said the ban expansion came after South Korea and another country discovered processed pork products that contained the ASF virus last Tuesday.
“With the new discovery and new development, the ministry will enlarge the ban on pork products. The DVS will be studying the risk and impact closely.
“This is to further protect our country from ASF, and we are monitoring the situation very closely. Processed products are not supposed to have these viruses but, somehow, they were detected, so we have to do more,” he said, adding that it was considered an immediate ban as the virus was only discovered by other countries on Christmas Day.
Usually, processed pork would have been sterilised after going through the processes of steaming, cooking, boiling or being smoked.
There should also be no shortage of roasted suckling pig — a popular dish among the Chinese during celebrations and festive seasons.
Suckling pigs are usually obtained from Vietnam, which borders China. Its capital, Hanoi, is about 1,000km away from Guangdong province, where some 2,000 pigs have been culled.
Sim said Vietnam was not an infected area, but DVS and the ministry were monitoring it closely.
The DVS will issue a statement about the ban expansion today. It issued a statement yesterday that Malaysia did not import pork blood protein flour from China that was used to process animal feed.
This was in response to a report claiming that authorities in China discovered ASF virus in the powder in Huizhou, Guangdong.
Sim had announced that the ban on importation of live pigs and frozen pork from the six countries affected with the ASF virus on Sept 7 after a meeting with stakeholders and pig farmers following the virus outbreak in early August.
“While the virus does not affect humans, authorities here are taking proactive measures to prevent the risk of ASF, which could affect pig farms here,” said Sim, adding that there was no evidence of ASF in Malaysia yet.
Malaysians returning to the country after visiting China and other countries are also advised not to bring home any pork products.
“We are afraid the virus may infect the pigs here one way or another. Don’t bring pork products back to Malaysia,” he said.
ASF virus can survive for up to three years. — DayakDaily