Malaysia widens ban on pork products to prevent the African swine fever virus from spreading

The Department of Veterinary Services has widened the temporary ban on products such as canned pork, sausage casings, sliced pork, smoked ham and pork en­zymes from some countries.
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Following the African swine fever (ASF) virus outbreak in other countries with the Year of the Pig approaching, Malaysia is temporarily banning expansion of pork products from six countries.

The six countries are China, Poland, Rus­sia, Hungary, Moldova and Ukraine. The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has widened the temporary ban on products such as canned pork, sausage casings, sliced pork, smoked ham and pork en­zymes from these countries, The Star reported.

In particular, China is being monitored closely. Malaysia does not import live pigs and frozen pork from China, where the major outbreak is.

Also, according to New Straits Times, DVS issued a statement on Thursday (Dec 27) that Malaysia did not import pork blood protein powders from China – which was used as animal feed.

This was in response to a report claiming that authorities in China discovered ASF virus in the powder in Huizhou, Guangdong, The Star reported.

New Straits Times quoted DVS’ director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam as saying: “To make things clear, Malaysia does not import the said protein powders and a ban order has been issued for all swine products, either alive or frozen.”

According to The Star, Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin said the ban expansion came after South Korea and another country discovered processed pork products that contained the ASF virus on Christmas day.

“… Processed products are not supposed to have these viruses but somehow, they were detected, so we have to do more.”

“While the virus does not affect humans, authorities here are taking proactive measures to prevent the risk of ASF, which could affect pig farms here,” Sim was quoted as saying, adding that there were no evidence of ASF in Malaysia yet.

But The Star reported that the Chinese community in Malaysia does not have to worry about the shortage of pork delicacies for the Chinese New Year.

The Star reported that there should be no effect on lap mei fun (waxed meat claypot rice) as restaurants usually purchase lap cheong (Chinese sausage), yun cheong (liver sausage) and waxed pork from local producers and sources.

There should also be no shortage of roasted suckling pig – a popular dish among the Chinese during celebrations and festive seasons.

Suckling pigs are usually obtained from Vietnam, which borders China. Sim said Vietnam was not an infected area but DVS and the ministry are still monitoring it closely.

Its capital, Hanoi, is about 1,000km away from Guangdong province where some 2,000 pigs have been culled.

On Sep 7, Sim had announced the ban on import of live pigs and frozen pork from the six countries affected with the ASF virus after a meeting with stakeholders and pig farmers following the virus outbreak in early August, reported The Star.

Sim and Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye advised citizens returning to Malaysia after visiting China and other countries not to bring home any pork products.

Lee also added that the ASF virus could survive for up to three years.