Canada leading a discussion on African Swine Fever

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, stands at the Montréal-Trudeau airport with two Canadian border services officers and two detector dogs (CNW Group/Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA))

Canada is taking steps to prevent African Swine Fever from entering the country.

It’s hosting an international forum April 30 to May 1 which will involve 15 countries including the U.S., Mexico and members of the European Union.

“It is great to see that Canada is a leader in the sector,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau is the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “To us it is very important, we are taking it very seriously. We do not want this disease to get on our territory.”

Canada is also more than doubling its detector dog teams across the country at airports, spending $31 million over five years to add another 24 teams.

The Canada Border Services Agency says it intercepts pork products on a regular basis, including meat and snacks that are declared and undeclared.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is raising awareness among travellers through social media and has already reached over 20 million people with its ASF campaign.

Additional signage has been placed at airports reminding travellers of the requirement to declare all food and animal products at the border.

And the CFIA is partnering with Canada’s pork industry, industry associations and provinces to generate awareness and help maintain a high level of vigilance and standards on pig farms across the country.

While ASF poses no risk to human health, but it could disrupt Canada’s pork industry, which includes over 100,000 direct and indirect Canadian jobs.