Thailand declares war on illegal pork imports amid swine fever scare
The Livestock Development Department has declared war on illegal imports of pork that have plagued Thai consumers and farmers for several months, director-general Somchuan Ratanamungklanon said on Monday.
His announcement came after livestock officials seized 40 tonnes of pork illegally imported from neighbouring countries at a cold storage facility in Samut Sakhon province on November 14.
The department is clamping down on the illegal meat trade following a suspected outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Chiang Mai last month.
Somchuan said most of the illegal pork imports are arriving by sea in shipping containers, and the Customs Department can only screen a small portion of them.
People caught importing pork illegally face harsh penalties under the Animal Epidemics Act, he said.
“The seized products will be destroyed while the storage facility owner will face both criminal and civil charges, on top of having their permit revoked,” he warned.
Blocking illegal pork imports is crucial to preventing ASF from entering Thailand and devastating the local swine farming industry, he added.
“The department will deploy officials at all border channels, land, sea and air, to prevent illegal pork from slipping through,” he said. It will also monitor cold storage facilities nationwide.