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‘Deeply worrying’ as nearly 60 tonnes of illegally imported meat seized by port officials | UK | News UK News

Port officials at Dover have seized large quantities of illegally imported meat which is “deeply worrying” for the pig sector, industry bosses warned.

At least 57 tonnes of illegally imported pig meat was confiscated at the Port of Dover since September 2022, including 5.5 tonnes of illegal meat seized over the weekend before Christmas.

Current rules introduced in 2022 make it illegal for travellers to bring pork products weighing over 2kg into the country from the EU unless produced to the bloc’s commercial standards.

Beverley Edmondson, port health manager at Dover District Council and Port Health Authority, said it could be just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Lizzie Wilson, chief executive of the National Pig Association, called the volumes being seized “deeply worrying”.

She said: “The most worrying aspect of all this is the assumption that the meat being seized at Dover represents only the tip of the iceberg.

“It is, sadly, inevitable that lots of this illegally imported meat is getting into the country, some of which could well be infected with African swine fever (ASF).

“We understand, anecdotally, that due to the cost-of-living crisis, there is a growing black market for meat in this country, which will be driving the demand for illegally imported meat for both domestic and commercial use.

“As we know from the regular emergence of ASF in new areas across Europe, often attributed to human spread, it will only take one incident of a piece of infected meat reaching a pig to bring the entire pig industry to its knees.

“We are therefore calling on the Government to extend the current ban to all non-commercial pork imports rather than just consignments over 2kg. This will make it simpler for travellers to understand and easier to enforce.”

She added: “An outbreak of ASF would be catastrophic for the pig sector, with many knock-on effects. We urge the Government to take this threat seriously.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-05 12:28:00

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