Effective immediately, a temporary ban has been placed on all pork and pork products originating from the Dominican Republic.
The Ministry of Agriculture says this includes all live, fresh, chilled, frozen, canned and processed pork and pork products.
“No import licenses shall be granted by the Veterinary and Livestock Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration to import pork from the Dominican Republic into Antigua and Barbuda”, it said in a release.
Antiguan pork importers are being encouraged to utilize other markets such as those in the United States. Pork importers are also encouraged to support local producers who are able to assist in filling this void created in the market.
An outbreak of African Swine Fever was officially detected in domestic pigs in the Dominican Republic, on July 28, 2021 and has since been confirmed in the Americas and Caribbean Region by the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health).
The ministry said the decision was taken to protect the region from further infiltration of the virus which can cause serious economic and production losses and complete decimation of the swine industry in Antigua and Barbuda.
It said compliance is needed at a national level to prevent entry of this disease which would include increased border surveillance and updating procedures to manage garbage at international ports of entry.
African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is responsible for serious economic and production losses.
This transboundary animal disease (TAD) can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products; furthermore, transmission can also occur via objects such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives, equipment.
Due to the high environmental resistance of ASF virus it can also be spread through waste containing pork or processed pork products. There is currently there is no approved vaccine for ASF.