Samoa has banned the importation of all pork products from China as well as all countries with confirmed presence of African Swine Fever (ASF).
African swine fever is a fatal animal disease with no approved vaccine affecting pigs and wild boars, with up to 100% case fatality rate, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) who have issued an extensive list of affected countries that includes China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Phillipines, Indonesia and others.
The Samoa Ministry of Agriculture have this week announced the immediate suspension based on biosecurity measures, that also includes the recall of all pork products currently in stores across Samoa.
“Any importation of Pork and/or pork products from ASF affected countries will not be authorised entry into Samoa;
“Any pork and/or pork products which have been imported from ASF affected countries and which are currently being sold in stores must be immediately removed from sale until further notice is issued by the Ministry,” reads the public notice.
During current times of slowing economic activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses are told to absorb the inherent costs the ban will bring upon importers at this time.
“All expenses associated with the Re-shipment or Destruction of the consignment will be borne solely by the importer.” reads the notice.
The firm biosecurity stance comes after a recent ASF risk assessment was conducted.
“Recognising the potential serious impact of AFS in the Pacific, the government of Samoa requested FAO to provide support for ASF preparedness to prevent the disease entering Samoa. In response, FAO is conducting an ASF risk assessment mission in Samoa from February 17 to 20, 2020”.
FAO provided technical support and worked in partnership with Massey University’s Dr Naomi Cogger and Dr Art Subharat in close collaboration with Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
“The mission provided information on high risk and vulnerable areas for ASF introduction into, and transmission within Samoa and how these can be addressed to better safeguard the country.
According to FAO, ASF is not transmissible to humans hence; it is not a direct human health concern.
“However, the threat of ASF reaching the Pacific is real despite the geographical distance of Samoa, and other Pacific countries have from ASF hotspots in Asia and Europe”, states an FAO release.
Eriko Hibi, FAO Representative to the Pacific, warns the highly resistant nature of the virus and its ability to survive for long periods in meat products. “Samoa must boost biosecurity and border control measures and be vigilant with preventing such products being brought into the region,” says Hibi. FAO will therefore work closely with its partners in minimizing the threat posed by ASF for Samoa and the Pacific.
SUSPENSION ON THE IMPORTATION AND SALE OF PORK PRODUCTS
The public is hereby advised that in accordance with Cabinet directives issued on 18th March 2020, and noting the risk to Samoa’s Biosecurity, that effective immediately:
1. Suspension is imposed on importation of all pork products from the People’s Republic of China and any other country listed as having the presence of African Swine Fever (ASF);
2. Any permit issued prior to this Notice which allowed importation of pork and/or pork products is now varied to comply with this Notice pursuant to section 12(4) of the Quarantine (Biosecurity) Act 2005;
3. Any importation of Pork and/or pork products from ASF affected countries will not be authorised entry into Samoa;
4. Any pork and/or pork products which have been imported from ASF affected countries and which are currently being sold in stores must be immediately removed from sale until further notice is issued by the Ministry;
5. All expenses associated with the Re-shipment or Destruction of the consignment will be borne solely by the importer; and
6. Any breach of the conditions of importation and sale will be in contravention of the Quarantine (Biosecurity) Act 2005 and the Ministry may exercise its legal rights to enforce compliance.
7. Any non-compliance will result in 100% seizure of regulated articles by the Ministry may result in charges being laid under the Quarantine (Biosecurity) Act 2005.
8. The Ministry of Agriculture and fisheries will be taking samples of pork products being imported to test for the presence of ASF. You will be informed of the test results in due course.
9. Please obtain clearance from Samoa Quarantine Services should you wish to clarify countries for which approval has been granted for the importation of pork and/or pork products.
ASF is a highly contagious and often fatal disease of pigs of all ages. There are no approved vaccine against ASF.
We appreciate your cooperation to protect Samoa against biosecurity risks.
For more information, please contact the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Quarantine Division on telephone number (685) 20924 or contact my office directly on 22171.
Chief Executive Officer
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries