Government Ensures Vigilance Against African Swine Fever in Hong Kong’s Live Pig Supply Chain

In response to the ongoing global concern about African Swine Fever (ASF), the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) in Hong Kong has implemented stringent measures to safeguard the live pig supply chain. The government’s robust mechanism aims to prevent the transmission of ASF to live pigs supplied to Hong Kong.

Safety Measures in Place: To maintain the integrity of the live pig supply, the government has established a comprehensive monitoring system. This includes disease checks at the import level and in slaughterhouses, encompassing thorough inspections of live pigs designated for consumption.

ASF and Food Safety Assurance: A spokesperson from the CFS emphasized that ASF is not a zoonotic disease, ensuring that it does not pose any risk to human health. This clarification is vital in reassuring the public about the safety of pork consumption.

Supply Chain Oversight: Live pigs provided to Hong Kong are sourced exclusively from registered farms under the supervision of Mainland authorities. Rigorous quarantine and inspection protocols are enforced before export, accompanied by official health certificates confirming the absence of ASF symptoms. Veterinary Officers from the CFS conduct on-site inspections of live pigs’ health conditions.

Preventive Measures: In the event of an ASF outbreak in a registered farm in the Mainland, live pigs from that farm are barred from importation to Hong Kong. Suspected cases undergo sample collection and testing at the Veterinary Laboratory of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Stringent ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections at slaughterhouses further ensure the safety of the pork supply chain.

Successful Track Record: Over the past four years, no live pigs supplied from the Mainland to Hong Kong have been found to be infected with ASF. The success is attributed to rigorous monitoring, stringent protocols, and collaboration between relevant authorities.

Daily Clearance and Hygiene Practices: Since June 2019, a daily clearance arrangement has been implemented, ensuring that all live pigs admitted to slaughterhouses are processed within 24 hours. Thorough cleaning and disinfection of lairages occur daily, reducing the risk of ASF infection. Vehicles transporting live pigs undergo meticulous cleaning and disinfection, with designated areas for each process to prevent cross-contamination.

Impact Mitigation: Despite recent cases of ASF in Hong Kong, the operation of local slaughterhouses remains unaffected. This resilience ensures a consistent supply of live pigs, stabilizing prices and safeguarding the local pig rearing industry.

Government Commitment: The government remains committed to monitoring the ASF situation, prioritizing the well-being of local pig farmers and the pig rearing industry. The proactive measures in place demonstrate a dedication to sustaining a secure and reliable live pig supply chain in Hong Kong.