Breaking news: Belgium is regaining its ASF free status
On 27 October, one year after traces of virus circulation in wild boars were last detected, Belgium submitted a request through the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain in Belgium (FASFC) to the European Commission to end all restricted areas "African swine fever" (ASF). Simultaneously, an application was submitted to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to regain disease-free status for all suidae (pigs and wild boars, both wild and captive).
The file submitted to the OIE to regain free status at international level is still pending. Regaining this free status is an essential step to launch negotiations with third countries on lifting the current embargoes on Belgian pork.
Thanks to the favorable development in terms of European status, pig farmers in the restricted areas (who had to preventively cull their pigs in 2018) will be able to repopulate their farms. The ministerial order regulating this is currently following the administrative steps necessary and will be published before the end of this year.
Nevertheless, it remains important to be vigilant. African swine fever is still circulating in Eastern Europe and the virus spread further to the border area in Germany with Poland in September. Our country, like all European countries, is closely monitoring the situation in order to prevent a second introduction of the virus.
Although the disease has now been eradicated, the Walloon Region in the south of the province of Luxembourg still maintains strict monitoring and control measures. In the future, they will be gradually phased out, according to an already established strategy.
Herman Diricks, Managing director FASFC: "The many efforts of both the various authorities involved and the sectors have yielded a first concrete result in obtaining this European“ free status ”. We are convinced that now the OIE and third countries will also follow. As an agency, we do everything we can to achieve this as quickly as possible."
David Clarinval, Belgian Federal Minister of Agriculture: "The European Commission's approval to regain disease-free status is excellent news for our farmers and the entire pig industry. They have followed difficult measures to contain this epidemic. I am confident that the OIE's decision will follow soon. I am pleased with the excellent cooperation between the federal government, the Walloon Region and the FASFC. The effectiveness and speed of the measures taken have made it possible to stop the spread of this disease. The end is in sight and it will enable us to guide the steps we need to take to lift the embargoes of several third countries as soon as possible."