North America needs to be ready in the event the disease arrives, the ag minister said
By Diego Flammini
A devastating swine disease was among the topics North America’s three federal ag ministers discussed during the USDA’s Outlook Conference in Washington, D.C. last week.
Hog farms in more than 15 countries, including Russia and China, have tested positive for African Swine Fever as it spreads across Asia, Africa and Europe.
North American officials should put together a proactive approach to manage the disease in case it arrives on the continent, rather than searching for ideas afterwards, said Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s ag minister.
“What I want to happen is be as ready as we can should (the disease arrive) here,” MacAulay told reporters Friday. “We are posting more on social media, posting in airports (and) increasing fines for anybody that tries to import meat” from countries affected by the disease.
Undeclared food can result in fines up to $1,300 per item, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.
ASF surveillance also includes monitoring feed imports, and “making sure you have to be certified to bring (feed) in and all prevention measures that can take place will take place…” MacAulay told reporters.