France has imposed a ban on imports of live pigs, pork-based byproducts and pig sperm from countries where Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) virus is circulating, i.e. United States, Canada, Mexico and Japan.
The French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood, and Forestry reported on Friday (2 May 2014). Jean-Luc Angot, deputy general and chief veterinary officer stated that the ban will chiefly concern animal feed, with exports predominantly coming from Canada.
The ban, introduced this weekend, does not include pork meat for human consumption. Angot added: "This disease worries us because the economic consequences would be dramatic if it hit our farms, in Europe and notably in France."
He continued to explain why the disease has now been classed as 'category 1' – a classification justifying the ban, "When you see the numbers, there is a reason to be worried. There are few diseases that have such a high mortality rate at such a large scale."
French newspaper Le Monde reports that China and Japan have already restricted imports of US pork. The French have been the first in Europe, so far, to ban pork from Northern America. An attempt to reach an EU-wide ban has been opposed by the European Commission.
The virus has killed around seven million young pigs in the US since it was first identified there a year ago. The disease has also reduced hog supplies in the United States and pork prices have reached record highs ever since.
Click here to see the spread of PED virus in maps.
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