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Czech Republic stresses inspection on pork imports for African swine fever

Staff Writer |
Czech State Veterinary Administration (SVA) informed on Thursday that all pork meat and pork products imported from the countries where African swine fever virus (ASFV) has been confirmed must be tested for this virus.

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According to the authorities, emergency veterinary measures will be announced by the state on Monday, then they will take effect on Tuesday. The obligation will apply to all domestic food business operators importing pork and pork products from Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Poland or Romania.

Upon the inspection, the pork will be able to enter Czech market again. Those importers who fail to comply with the state requirement will face a fine of up to 2 million Czech crowns (around 90,868 U.S. dollars).

Tests are usually completed within 24 hours of receipt of the sample. The general director of SVA Zbynek Semerad said on Wednesday that if samples are taken by the veterinary institutes before noon, they should be analyzed by the end of the day. If later, the results are likely to be the next day.

The disease has been recently reported in Belgium and Poland, which are the third and fourth largest pork and pig importers to the Czech Republic.

Czech Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman said that due to the rapid desease spreading over Europe, this compulsory examination for ASFV is required in order to protect domestic pigs and guarantee high-standard market for the Czech consumers. The country had already had the experience in fighting the virus and it costed the state a lot of money.

According to SVA, this yeat the veterinarians took over 100 of samples to test for African swine fever -- the results have been all negative so far.

Based on SVA information, currently Czech importers receive approximately 3,000 consignments of pork from the infected countries, which is around 4,000 tonnes per month. On average, a single shipment for test inspection, is roughly 1.3 tonnes.

Meanwhile, the country reports that Czech pork producers now suffer from low purchase prices, said Chairman of the Pig Breeders Association Jan Stibal. He added that prices are the lowest since 2004, and the breeders might need to ask for the a rescue package from the European Union. According to Stibal, pigs are now being bought at 35.56 Czech crowns (around 1.62 U.S. dollars) per kilogram of live weight. The purchase prices have been lower than production costs for a long time.

In the Czech Republic, the cases of African swine fever were first historically recorded in June 2017 in the outskirts of Zlin city.

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