Pork products safe from swine fever, but farmers could lose millions

SOUTH AFRICA - Local consumers can continue to safely eat pork and bacon products, however, pig farmers are bearing the brunt of recent culling efforts in the wake of a spate of swine fever in the Eastern Cape.

David Osborne, one of the directors of Number Two Piggeries, said the farm had 26 000 pigs culled in August last year and had lost R65 million as a result.

"Those pigs would have brought the farm an income of R5 million each month and we will only be back in production by September," he said.

The R65 million loss equated to a year's worth of income. The piggeries have had to buy new pigs, which go into quarantine, and piglets born in March will need at least five months before they can be sold on the market.

Swine fever is a virus that leads to high fever and loss of appetite in pigs, resulting in abortions and deaths.

Osborne stressed that the virus would not spread to other animals and was not dangerous to humans, unlike the deadly strain of Avian flu carried by poultry.

"Pork products bought from a recognised butchery are perfectly safe to eat and there is no reason for the market to stop eating pork," Osborne said.

Simon Streicher, the chief executive of the SA Pork Producers Association, said swine fever had initially been diagnosed in August last year. "It is a good sign that the disease has been contained in one province," he said.

The "hot spots" are East London, Umtata and Uitenhage.

For more information on Swine Fever Click Here

Source: Business Report & Independent Online
calendar icon 20 March 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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