Pork trots back to tables after holiday cleanup

Top News | Jane Cheung 8 Feb 2019

Pork's back on the menu with fresh supplies available in markets today after a three-day break to clean slaughterhouses in Sheung Shui and Tsuen Wan.

The abattoirs were cleaned during the holidays as a precautionary measure because of an outbreak of African swine fever across the border.

The disease has affected 25 mainland provinces, resulting in 916,000 pigs being culled.

More than 3,000 pigs will be slaughtered and distributed to wet markets by 7am - 25 percent more than the same period last year.

Hui Wai-kin of the Pork Traders' General Association of Hong Kong said: "The wholesale price of pork should remain stable and be around the same level as before the holidays."

Hui said since the outbreak of swine fever in the mainland began in August, 700,000 pigs have been slaughtered in the SAR for consumption but no one has been reported sick after eating the meat.

"It proves that the pork supplied to Hong Kong is safe. Some people were worried and stopped eating pork, but they have did so for a short period," he said. "The thorough cleansing at the slaughterhouses will help restore confidence in fresh pork."

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee inspected the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse yesterday.

Both slaughterhouses beefed up cleaning and disinfection of vehicles and staff.

The premises also installed additional cleaning equipment, including pressurized water pumps and hot water high-pressure jets.

In the past, fresh pig supply was suspended only on the first day of the Lunar New Year.

But the pig industry held a meeting last month and decided to extend the suspension this year for a thorough cleaning of the slaughterhouses.

Hong Kong imports 4,000 live pigs from mainland farms every day, making up about 90 percent-plus of market supply. Local farms supply about 300 pigs a day.

Meanwhile, a mainland tourist who traveled to Japan was found bringing in pork sausages that tested positive for swine fever.

This was the eighth incident in which Japanese authorities seized pork products carrying the swine fever virus in travelers' luggage.

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said it seized the sausages found in the baggage of a tourist from Jilin province arriving at Kansai International Airport in Osaka.

The ministry said it had enhanced inspections as a result of increasing mainland tourists due to the Lunar New Year holidays.

This came after five Japanese prefectures were found with swine fever, resulting in the slaughter of 15,000 pigs. Some 130 wild boar were also found to be infected.

jane.cheung@singtaonewscorp.com

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