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HCM City steps up oversight of pork supply as African swine fever looms

Update: March, 13/2019 - 17:00
A butcher’s shop at the Hóc Môn Wholesale Market in HCM City’s Hóc Môn District. — VNS File Photo.
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — HCM City authorities have instructed government agencies and district administrations to take measures to combat pig diseases after African swine fever was reported in the northern city of Hải Phòng.

They should use their experience from previous campaigns, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, Lê Thanh Liêm, told a conference on Tuesday.

An inspection team with members from the city’s Food Safety Management Agency and Veterinary Division went around a number of slaughterhouses to ensure African swine fever has not spread to the city yet.

The Xuyên Á abattoir in Củ Chi District said usually around 1,300 pigs are slaughtered there daily and supplied to the city market but the number has fallen to 900 since pork buyers are afraid of the disease.

The slaughterhouse has contracted to buy pigs from southern and south-eastern provinces, and all the animals must have veterinary certificates, it said.

The inspection team also checked the Xuân Thới Thượng slaughterhouse in Hóc Môn District and the Hóc Môn and Bình Điền (District 8) wholesales markets.

According to Phạm Khánh Phong Lan, head of the city Food Safety Management Agency, HCM City has the largest number of large abattoirs in the country, one for poultry and 11 for pigs.

Southern provinces face the risk of consuming sick pigs from northern provinces since the prices of live pigs in the north are VNĐ8,000-10,000 per kilogramme lower, he said.

They could be transported to abattoirs in the Mekong Delta provinces of Tiền Giang, Vĩnh Long and Long An and then sold to HCM City, he warned.

African swine fever has not been reported in HCM City yet, but the city is not immune to the risk, he said.

“Relevant agencies should take measures to control the disease before it spreads to the city.”

According to the city’s Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Division, HCM City has more than 3,900 farming households who have some 274,000 pigs.

Three inspection teams set up by the Regional Animal Health Office No 6 under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Animal Health are conducting surveillance of pigs transported from northern provinces and cities to the southern region to prevent the spread of African swine fever.

The HCM City People’s Committee plans to ask the ministry for permission to ban the transport of pigs from the northern to southern region.

The committee asked provincial and city authorities to strengthen quarantine of pigs before transporting them to other localities.

Through inspections at the provinces of Ninh Thuận and Đồng Nai, the number of pigs from northern provinces and cities transported to the city fell by 40 per cent compared to previous days.

The Mekong Delta province of Tiền Giang has set up two stations for temporary quarantine at Mỹ Lợi Bridge in Gò Công Commune and Tân Cửu Nghĩa Commune in Châu Thành District.

Similar stations have also been set up in Long An Province.

Đồng Nai Province has set up two stations, including one on Highway No 20’s section connected with Lâm Đồng Province and the rest on Highway No 1 linking Bình Thuận Province for surveillance of animals from the northern and Central Highlands regions. — VNS

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