Successful controls in the fight against African swine fever

| 2 min read

The BAVG supported an "action sharp" in the fight against the introduction of animal diseases, in particular African swine fever (ASF). During priority inspections in January 2024, the import of around 2.4 tons of meat products was prevented.

Successful controls are an important contribution to preventing the introduction of ASF

The transportation of pork products from non-EU countries is prohibited. Even though African swine fever (ASF) has not yet occurred in Austria, the risk of introduction is still very high due to the numerous cases in southern and eastern Europe. The earlier an outbreak is detected, the sooner it can be contained. Household quantities are permitted within the EU, provided that the manufacturer of the meat products is subject to proper veterinary supervision in the country of origin. Meat and sausages from private producers that have not been subject to official controls pose a particular risk.

Preventing the introduction of animal diseases is of particular importance, as ASF in particular is a major and serious threat to domestic agriculture with serious consequences for the Austrian pig population and agriculture. The Federal Office of Consumer Health (BAVG), the Austrian Customs Office, the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection (BMSGPK) and the Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) carried out a joint priority campaign on a total of 21 inspection days in January. The officials achieved a success weighing several tons: the employees of the participating organizations seized around 2.4 tons of illegal and potentially dangerous foodstuffs. In addition to Austria, the intercepted products were also destined for Germany, France, Italy and Belgium. In all cases, the illegal goods were destroyed.

2,389 kilograms of meat from the Western Balkans and Moldova seized

In the course of the checks, 103 infringements were detected. Of these, in 33 cases the products came from Western Balkan countries, mainly from Serbia or Kosovo, with a total of 1,051 kilograms of meat, 631 kilograms of which was pork. In 70 cases, the meat products came from Moldova and amounted to a total of 1,338 kilograms, of which around 952 kilograms were pork. As early as December, 1,271 kilograms of meat and meat products were detected in 8 cases as part of the regular checks.

During an inspection in Nickelsdorf at the beginning of January, seized animal products were examined by the Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) before being properly destroyed. The AGES animal disease experts were able to take 50 samples, which fortunately yielded negative results for ASF in the laboratory test. However, vigilance is still required. The public can also help to keep domestic livestock populations healthy by not bringing in food made from pork and wild boar meat and avoiding any contact with domestic and wild boar in affected countries wherever possible.

Swine fever endangers farm animals and wild boar alike

ASF poses a considerable threat to domestic agriculture and the wild boar population. Infection is usually fatal for infected domestic pigs and wild boars, which would represent an enormous economic loss for livestock farmers in Austria. Humans can easily spread ASF over long distances through food contaminated with the virus, but the virus does not pose a health risk to humans. ASF is currently very active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo in particular.

The coordinated information and control campaign by customs, the Ministry of Health, BAVG and AGES is one of many measures to counteract the introduction of African swine fever into Austria. Travelers' awareness of the problem is increased and illegally imported goods can be withdrawn from circulation. Further technical information can be found on the websites of the Ministry of Health and AGES and information material on African swine fever for travelers can be downloaded in 16 languages.

This page has been translated using translation software. In case of doubt, the German version of this website shall apply.