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Germany registered the first case of African swine fever (ASF), a worrying sign in a country where pig farming and trade are highly developed, Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner announced this Thursday, September 10, 2020. The virus was detected in the remains of a wild boar found near the Polish border, in the Brandenburg region, which surrounds Berlin. This virus, like the consumption of infected meat, is not dangerous for humans, nor is the consumption of their meat.
German pig wholesale prices fell 14% on the same day that China banned the import of German pork. Germany is the main producer in the EU. German pork exports to China are worth around € 1 billion ($ 1.2 billion) annually, with volumes doubling in the first four months of this year due to increased demand after the Chinese production fell by 20%.
In China, the world’s largest pork producer, the disease caused hundreds of millions of animals to be slaughtered and increased imports of protein from other sources.
African swine fever is spread by contact with infected animals and can also be spread by people and trucks. It is almost always fatal in pigs, but it is not harmful to humans.
Germany has tried to get exports banned on a limited and regional basis, as the outbreak near the Polish border is hundreds of kilometers from the main producing region, in the northwest of the country. While the concept of a regional ban exists in intra-community trade, China has so far stuck to national bans.
German exports included large tonnages of pork parts, such as ears, snouts and legs, which are considered delicacies in Asia but are not as desired in Europe.