June 21, 2022


Pork from Italy and Germany remained ban in Japan due to African swine fever


Raw Italian ham, as well as German sausages and other well-known European meat items, are still banned from import into Japan due to fears of African swine fever (ASF), the Asahi Shimbun reported.


Italy's pork and processed foods were banned by the agricultural ministry in January.


The battle to restrict the spread of ASF has had an influence on the menu of popular Japanese family restaurant chain Saizeriya, and restaurants and merchants throughout the country are ramping up efforts to find alternatives for European specialties.


There are European products that are still accessible in Japan, which were produced and stockpiled prior to the import regulation, But these will eventually disappear from the market.


Some restaurants are shifting to Japanese-produced raw ham. Masayuki Okuda, owner of chef of San-Dan-Delo, said some Japanese items are created at temperatures and humidity levels similar to those found in Italy, and Okuda judged that their quality is sufficient to be served in his restaurant.


ASF spread throughout Asia and Eurasia, with instances documented in Italy, Poland, Germany, and other European countries.


So far, Japan has been free of ASF. Because the appearance of ASF would have a significant impact on the country's animal husbandry, the government has been beefing up countermeasures since the disease was discovered in China in 2018.


Animal quarantine authorities have been given permission to trash processed meat items brought in by visitors at airports. Those who try to avoid import checks will face harsher fines.


The government has no intention of dropping its guard after identifying the ASF virus' gene in a sausage confiscated from a tourist earlier this year.


Under the domestic animal infectious diseases control law, pork cannot be imported from countries where ASF has occurred.


Only until ASF-affected states have officially declared the illness eradicated and reached agreements with the Japanese side through extensive import restrictions discussions can exports be restarted.


Meat products from ASF-free zones in some affected countries can be sent to Japan. Hungary spent two years negotiating the issue with Tokyo before resuming particular imports in January of last year.


With Italy and Germany, however, such an agreement has yet to be reached. German sausage imports have been halted since September 2020.


Yoshiko Nishimura, president of Hareico Japan, a subsidiary of Dollinghareico in Germany, claimed she is having difficulty finding a replacement.


Nishimura said they have been dealing with German sausages for 35 years, but the situation is quite challenging owing to the COVID-19 outbreak on top of the import restrictions.


To comply with Japan's trade laws, Nishimura said imports are now limited to canned food that are heated after packing. Popular sausages that have been cooked and then packaged are not allowed into Japan.


As a result, Nishimura began buying Austrian sausages, despite the fact that no ASF cases had been documented in the adjacent nation. Nonetheless, the volume of imports has decreased by half since the height, when Hareico Japan purchased 100 tonnes of sausages every year.


Hareico Japan is trying to improve awareness among German cuisine restaurants that use its imported sausages, claiming that they are made in the German-speaking country in the same manner as those made in Munich or other German cities.


-      The Asahi Shimbun

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