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Two more pork packets in Taiwan test positive for African swine fever

2019/02/03 16:07:04

Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) Two packets of pork jerky, which were found discarded in bins at Taipei Songshan Airport, have tested positive for African swine fever (ASF), bringing the total number of such cases to 20, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) said Sunday.

The two packets of pork jerky were found in disposal bins at the airport on Jan. 23 and 24, likely discarded by passengers arriving from China, the BAPHIQ said in a statement.

The label on one of the packets showed that it was produced in China's Jiangsu province, while the label on the other packet did not specify the origin of the product, the BAPHIQ said.

However, the Chinese brand name printed on the second packet indicated that it was produced by a Shanghai-based company.

Samples of the two products were sent to the Council of Agriculture's Animal Health Research Institute for laboratory testing on Jan. 31 and were found to contain sequences of the gene fragments identical to those of the swine fever virus strain that is in China, the BAPHIQ said.

The latest results brought the total number of products that have tested positive for ASF in Taiwan since October last year to 20, all of which were either brought in from China or deemed highly likely to have originated in China.

The BAPHIQ said it is cautioning travelers not to bring meat products into Taiwan, to avoid being fined and to prevent the spread of the deadly ASF disease to the country.

Since the first confirmed case of ASF was reported in China's Liaoning Province last August, Taiwan has been on high alert, concerned that the spread of the virus from China could devastate its NT$80 billion-a-year (US$2.59 billion) pig farming industry.

Although it does not affect humans, the virus is deadly to pigs and has no known cure or vaccine.

(By Hsu Chih-wei and Christie Chen)