Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 10, 2017 (SKNIS): The Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) has recommended that a risk assessment be done on pork from specific farms in Santa Catarina, Brazil, Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton,disclosed in Parliament on Thursday, August 10.
Minister Hamilton said, “Mr. Speaker, over the past week or two, concerns were expressed to the Ministry of Agriculture by the importers of pork from Brazil. The concern was that the restriction of pork importation from Brazil was not lifted despite the fact that the restriction on beef and poultry were lifted. The concern, Mr. Speaker, prompted a meeting. A meeting where representatives of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) were present…representatives of the Ministry of Trade present, Ministry of Agriculture and a representative of the Cabinet.”
He said that the meeting resulted in his ministry agreeing to follow through urgently on obtaining a risk assessment on pork imported from Brazil from several competent authorities including those in the United States of America (USA), as well as, Inter-American Institute of Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and Caribbean Agricultural
“Brazil has some animal diseases, example,Foot and Mouth Disease and Classical Swine Fever. They have high economic and socio-impacts on animal production systems and along with the increasing prevalence of food-borne diseases globally a risk assessment on the importation of frozen meat from Brazil would be necessary to prevent…the animal diseases of concern,” he stated, adding that, “the diseases identified can survive in partially cooked meat, frozen meat and bone marrow long enough to be imported into the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
The Agriculture Minister said that Santa Catarina is bordered by provinces that are free from foot and mouth disease with vaccination, however, there is no guarantee that foot and mouth disease does not exist in those bordering provinces because the vaccination will not prevent exposure of the disease if it is present. “It will only prevent clinical infection of susceptible animals, therefore, there is a risk that [Foot and Mouth Disease] and [Classical Swine Fever] can be exported to us if the checks and balances are compromised. The fundamental reason why the Chief Veterinary Officer is saying, look, let us have an assessment,” Minister Hamilton said.
Once the assessment is completed and is satisfactory,local importers will be able to resume their trade with the suppliers in Brazil, according to the minister.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hamilton said that his ministry noted “that as a result of the restriction some persons have resorted to import pork from St. Maarten, however, such persons are advised that no license would be issued to import such pork if they originate in Brazil.”