Public urged not to buy meat from banned countries

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 05 Jul 2020

PETALING JAYA: Pig farmers have long been implementing strict biosecurity measures to protect the local swine industry from viral diseases.

They are also urging the public not to buy pork products from prohibited countries through online platforms.

Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia (FLFAM) president Tan Chee Hee said local pig farmers tightened biosecurity levels as the African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks that occurred outside Malaysia last year.

“At our farms, we have tightened biosecurity levels by making sure we use disinfectant, among others.

“We have been taking these measures since ASF outbreaks occurred outside Malaysia last year, ” he said.

The authorities banned imports of pork products from certain countries and are also clamping down on the online sales of such products from these countries, he said.

“Some merchants are selling these banned products on e-commerce platforms.

“The Veterinary Services Department (DVS) has already taken action by working with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, ” he added.

Since 2018, Malaysia has imposed an import ban on pigs and pig products from a number of countries, including China, Poland, Belgium, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Laos, South Korea and Indonesia.

Tan added that pork products in Malaysia were mainly locally sourced, with the country’s self-sufficiency ratio at about 91.9% in 2018.

The self-sufficiency ratio refers to the extent to which a country’s supply of a certain livestock or agricultural commodity meets domestic needs.

FLFAM pig unit head Wong Kuan Boon said local pig farmers had been consistently taking the same stringent measures as they had when there were outbreaks of ASF in other countries last year.

This includes following the Good Animal Husbandry Practices set out by DVS in managing their farms.

“We strictly do not allow visitors to enter the farm and we ensure the thorough disinfection of our lorries.

“The perimeter fencing around the farm needs to be well-built to prevent wild boars or other animals from entering the farm.

“We do not have swill feeding or allow other pork products in the farms, ” he said.

Wong added that it was likely the DVS would meet with farmers later to give a detailed explanation on the new virus strain that was recently flagged by some scientists as having the potential to trigger the next pandemic.

“The veterinarians of our local vaccine companies and pharmaceutical companies have also shared a lot of information with our farmers, so we believe that farmers generally have a basic understanding of the virus, ” he said.

It was recently reported that researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that is capable of triggering a pandemic.

The new virus type, named G4 EA H1N1, was genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009.

G4 now shows “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus”, said researchers in the study published in the US scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The World Health Organization said it would “read carefully” the study on the virus, and a spokesman said that the world should not let its guard down against influenza.

Malaysia’s DVS said on Wednesday that samples taken from commercial pig farms in the country nationwide had tested negative for the new type of swine flu.

It said that while some samples have shown seropositive results, the pigs showed no symptoms of any disease or risk of infection towards humans.

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