‘Simple ham sandwich’ could bring African Swine Fever to Ireland

Holiday-makers warned pig industry could be devastated by contaminated products

African swine fever is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually fatal.

African swine fever is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually fatal.

 

People returning from holidays abroad have been asked to avoid bringing home pork-based food such as ham sandwiches to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).

The Minister for Agriculture and Food Michael Creed said the introduction of African Swine Fever would devastate our pig industry.

Mr Creed said the disease is spreading across the world with serious consequences for pig farmers, meat processors and exporters in the affected countries.

African swine fever is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually fatal. The disease poses no risk for humans or other species. Pigs become infected by sniffing the carcasses of dead pigs, by eating feed products that contain the virus, or by coming in contact with clothes or boots that farmers, hunters and others have been wearing while handling infected pigs.

He urged Irish people and visitors to Ireland not to take the risk of bringing meat products into Ireland from affected countries as an outbreak of the disease would have an enormous impact on our pig industry.

“Don’t bring back your sandwich; don’t bring back your salami,” he said.

Mr Creed reminded all those who keep pigs “not to feed waste food that contains meat or meat products to pigs. A simple ham sandwich, salami or meat product could bring this disease to our doorstep and it would be devastating,” he said.

Ireland has almost 1.7 million pigs and pig meat exports were worth €666 million in 2018.

“The virus that causes ASF is quite virulent and can spread by accidental acts of individuals, in particular inappropriate disposal of waste food,”he said.

“The virus can survive for months in pork and pork products including cured meats such as ham and salami. Meat product could bring this disease to our doorstep and it would be devastating.”