Department of Agriculture ‘on airport alert’ as ASF threat rises in Ireland

Strict controls have been implemented in Dublin Airport as the effort continues to ensure Ireland remains African swine fever (ASF) free.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Dublin Airport has confirmed in a recent statement that its workers carry out these controls using a risk-based approach and with the aid of a food detector dog.

In cooperation with Revenue’s Customs Service, the Department of Agriculture implements “strict controls” on passenger baggage in Dublin Airport.

This is an effort to ensure serious animal diseases are not inadvertently introduced into Ireland through the import of products of animal origin from affected countries.

Passengers arriving from outside the EU, either directly or through a hub airport, are not allowed to bring in any meat, milk or their products in their personal baggage (there are certain exemptions in place for powdered infant milk, infant food and special foods or special pet foods required for medical reasons).

Scanning equipment is also available where necessary, to scan passenger baggage.

In addition to the checks carried out, information is provided to passengers in the baggage halls to alert them of the risks to animals of bringing in meat, milk and their products from outside the EU.

Anyone travelling abroad, or visiting Ireland from abroad, should not bring meat or meat products into Ireland from outside the EU.

“It is illegal to do so. Waste food should always be disposed of carefully, in sealed bins where it cannot be accessed by livestock or wild animals,” it concluded.

About ASF

The statement from the department explained that ASF is a serious viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually fatal. The disease can result in devastating losses for pig farmers and the pig industry.

Continuing, the statement noted that there is no cure or vaccine available for ASF and the disease is spreading across the world.

ASF poses no risk for humans or other animal species. Pork and pork products are completely safe to eat.

Ireland is free of ASF and an outbreak here would have a huge impact on the Irish pig industry.

The statement noted: “It is vital everyone acts together to keep this disease out of Ireland for the sake of our pigs, our pig farmers and our agri-food industry.”