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Japan suspends imports of heat-treated pork from China after ASF outbreak

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan has suspended imports of heat-treated Chinese pork after the first outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) was reported in China on Friday, an official at Japan’s ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries said.

Imports of sausage casings and heat-treated rice straw to use for bedding for pigs – which could be contaminated if coming from an outbreak area – were also temporarily suspended, the official said.

The move was to ensure all requirements for the import products were met, he said, adding that the halt will likely be lifted within a couple of days.

Japan has tightened quarantine operations at airports and seaports, especially for travellers from Shenyang and Dalian, near where the infection was found, a second official at the ministry said, using more sniffer dogs than usual and alerting travellers to China’s outbreak of ASF.

The agriculture ministry sent a notification on the ASF outbreak to locals governments, pig farmers’ associations and veterinarian associations on Friday, reminding farmers and animal doctor to follow proper hygiene procedures.

Japan already bans raw pork imports from China due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, the first official said.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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