African swine fever disease prevention

African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious virus that affects pigs. It has been detected in pigs overseas. It doesn't affect humans or any other animals. Find out about the virus and what we're doing to keep it out of New Zealand.

What's being done?

We’re taking the threat from ASF extremely seriously and are closely monitoring the situation overseas. Protecting New Zealand from unwanted pests and diseases, including African swine fever, is our number one priority.

It is important to note, New Zealand doesn’t import live pigs. Biosecurity New Zealand has considered the other potential pathways for ASF being introduced into the country and has reviewed the safeguards in place to reduce the chance of an ASF outbreak.

Pork can only be imported into New Zealand if it meets our strict import conditions. We are constantly reviewing our import conditions (including for pork products), and we can implement additional safeguards based on best available science.

Our Frequently Asked Questions document has more information on ASF in New Zealand, including the measures we take to keep it out.

Download our fact sheet [PDF, 489 KB]

What you can do

All New Zealanders have a role to play in protecting New Zealand from unwanted pests and diseases, like African swine fever.

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Feeding food waste to pigs

Feeding ASF infected food waste to pigs can spread the disease. Making sure that pigs are not fed uncooked meat waste is a vital part of limiting the spread of ASF (and other diseases like foot-and-mouth disease) if it ever gets to New Zealand.

The Biosecurity (Meat and Food Waste for Pigs) Regulations 2005 set out the rules for feeding meat or food waste containing meat to pigs. These rules apply to both commercial pigs and backyard pigs. Do not feed untreated food waste that contains meat (or that has been in contact with meat) to pigs. This food waste must be heated to 100°C for 1 hour. One option is to boil it for 1 hour while stirring often.

Supplying food waste to pigs that doesn't comply with the regulations is an offence. We advise that food waste suppliers get written confirmation from people collecting their food waste. It should confirm that they will follow the rules around heating the food waste before feeding it to pigs. This helps to ensure responsibilities under the regulations are met.

For offences under these regulations, individuals can be fined of up to $5,000. Businesses can be fined up to $15,000.

Pig owners

Do not feed untreated food waste to pigs. Feeding ASF infected food waste to pigs can spread the disease. Making sure that pigs are not fed uncooked meat waste is a vital part of keeping ASF out of New Zealand. See our information above about feeding food waste to pigs.

If you suspect one of your pigs of having ASF (or another exotic disease), you are legally obliged to report it. Call your veterinarian, or contact us on 0800 80 99 66.

Here's some more guidance on what to do:

  • Make sure you separate any sick animals from the rest of your pigs.
  • Don’t remove them from your property.
  • Restrict visitors from entering the animals' area.
  • Use separate equipment, footwear, and clothing when handling sick pigs.
Veterinarians

Veterinarians, especially those working with livestock, should get familiar with the signs of ASF. If ASF does enter New Zealand, early detection and diagnosis is crucial. If you suspect a pig may be affected by ASF, immediately call us 0800 80 99 66. A Biosecurity New Zealand incursion investigator will discuss the case with you.

Clinical signs of African swine fever [PDF, 852 KB]

Visitors and international travellers

If you have been to areas affected by ASF, make sure you wash or dispose of all clothing, footwear and equipment before you enter New Zealand. You must declare any food items, animal products, or equipment used outdoors that you are bringing into the country. This includes items used on farms, for hiking, camping, fishing, and gardening.

Biosecurity New Zealand checks any passengers and baggage identified as being at high risk of carrying agents of livestock diseases, or other unwanted pests and diseases. People who forget to declare items, or who make false declarations, can be fined.

Online purchases

Before you buy any pork products online from overseas sites, check whether there are any biosecurity import conditions. If you're unsure, contact Biosecurity New Zealand before you make your online purchase, or do not buy the item.

Video – How to stay one step ahead (3:10)

In this video, the European Food Safety Authority explains what African swine fever is and how domestic pigs can be protected from infection.

 

[Video begins. During the video, cartoon animations show what's being narrated.]

Narrator: "African swine fever is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually deadly. There are neither vaccines nor cures. For this reason, it has serious socio-economic consequences in affected countries. The virus can persist for several months in the environment and in carcasses. Curing or smoking pork products does not always destroy it.

"Humans are not susceptible to the disease, but they can spread it through contaminated clothes or equipment. The clinical signs of African swine fever are variable and not always easy to recognise. Typically, diseased animals will show some or all of the following symptoms: High fever, weakness and reluctance to stand, vomiting, diarrhoea (sometimes bloody), red or blue coloured skin, particularly around the ears and snout, coughing and difficulty breathing, miscarriage, still births, and weak litters.

"Most of the diseased animals will die within 10 days. Domestic pigs can be infected in a number of ways including: Contact with contagious pigs purchased in affected areas, being fed with kitchen waste (it has been regulated and prohibited by EU law since 1980), contact with contaminated materials (for instance from people wearing contaminated footwear or clothing).

"Contact your official veterinarian immediately if you suspect African swine fever has infected your herd. Do not move your animals from the farm, Always change clothing and footwear when leaving the farm. Before purchasing feed, litter, or pigs, ensure that they come from trust-worthy farms that have carried out the necessary measures to protect their farms from the virus. Do not allow your pigs to have contact with wild boar or pigs from other farms. Never feed kitchen waste to pigs. Avoid outdoor farming in areas affected by African swine fever. Do not acquire pork or pork products from affected areas which could cause risk.

"Wild boar hunters should not come into contact with domestic pigs after hunting. Hunters and farmers should not leave offal from wild boar or domestic pigs in the fields and forests. Do not leave food or waste in areas where wild boar may be present. Contact official veterinary authorities when you find a dead wild boar, even if the area has not been affected by African swine fever."

[The European Food Safety Authority logo appears, with the words 'For more information consult ASF topic page and story map on EFSA website https://goo.g/oU3EdD' [http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/topics/topic/african-swine-fever ]. The European Commission logo also appears, with the words 'For more on control measures visit the European Commission website, ASF section https://goo.gl/9Tp2N4' [https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/animal-diseases/control-measures/asf_en ].]

[Video ends.]


Who to contact

If you think you've seen a case of ASF, isolate the animal immediately and do not move it off your property. Call your veterinarian, or contact our pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.

If you have questions about ASF, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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