Japan halts Hungarian pork import on swine fever cases

HUNGARY - Japan has banned import of Hungarian pork just two days after Hungarian animal health authorities detected the swine fever virus in three wild boars in the northern part of the country.
calendar icon 26 January 2007
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Hungary's entire pig market could collapse due to the ban, said László Kovács, Chairman-CEO of meat processor Pick Szeged.

Kovács said the halt of pork sales to Japan causes a serious headache to both his company and the entire sector, as Japan is one of Hungary's key export markets, business daily Napi Gazdaság said on Thursday.

Japan buys up to 15% of Hungarian pork exports.

Hungary's small pig stock could easily become too big to bear and prices may start to plunge, he added. Certain pork parts, i.e. spare rib roast and ham, can be sold nowhere else but in Japan, he explained. These parts may be sold in Europe but only at a very low price. If the export of these becomes impossible, the meat industry will cut back production and procurement prices will slump, Kovács said.

The poultry sector may also find itself in a dire situation, as the European Commission has just announced the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain had been found in dead geese in Hungary. This is the first case of bird flu outbreak in the European Union this year.

Source: Portfolio

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