SCPHA team members examine pork products found in a van entering the port of Harwich

SCPHA fights spread of African Swine Fever in joint operation with Border Force

Ajoint operation between Border Force and Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority (SCPHA) is cracking down on smuggled meats at the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich to reduce the chances of an African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in Britain.

Team members from SCPHA have used their expertise to identify, inspect and seize more than 300kg of illegal meats across two weeks so far, which have been found by Border Force in traffic arriving from EU countries.

Richard Jacobs, Port Health Manager of SCPHA, said:

“This joint operation will further our mission of the protection of public and animal health while strengthening our long-standing relationship with Border Force.

“Every day our over 100 team members check imported food and animal products to ensure they’re safe for use and consumption, while rejecting imports that fail UK health standards. Such experience is vital to reducing the chances an ASF outbreak in Britain.”

Left: Illegal pork products seized by SCPHA.

ASF is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs with potentially devastating effects on pig populations and the farming economy, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Following a risk assessment by the Animal and Plant Health Agency on the threat of ASF, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced new controls restricting the movement of pork and pork products into Britain to help safeguard the island’s pig population. Namely, travellers from the EU are no longer allowed to bring pork or pork products weighing over 2kg into Britain unless they are produced to the EU’s commercial standards.

Now, 11 SCPHA team members have been given training and powers to examine meats found by Border Force in vehicles, trailers and containers arriving at the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich and seize any pork without verified packaging that weighs over the personal allowance, as well as other meats that could be contaminated.

Left: A slab of unpackaged meat is identified and confiscated.

Rich, one of two SCPHA Team Leaders taking part in the joint operation, said:

“We’ve seized over 300kg of meats across two weeks, which shows how serious the threat is.

“Alongside our colleagues in Border Force, we’re committed to keeping the UK safe and ensuring the products coming through our ports are verified and suitable to be eaten by both humans and animals.”

Team Leader Mark added:

“I am proud that SCPHA’s newly formed teams are at the forefront with Border Force in protecting pork producers from the potentially devastating effects of ASF on pig populations and the economy.”