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By Joe Kirwin
June 9 — The European Union has boosted its efforts to protect its multibillion dollar pork industry from a deadly virus that has infected U.S. and Canadian hog farms as animal health experts from the 28 EU member states have adopted new testing requirements on imports from across the Atlantic Ocean.
Following up on measures adopted in May to restrict U.S. and Canada imported blood products used for feeding piglets, the EU member states backed a European Commission proposal requiring testing of live pig imports for the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) that has caused significant losses to the North American pork industry and is driving up consumer prices.
The U.S. and Canada are authorized to export live pigs to the EU. In 2013, 900 pigs “with a high genetic value” were imported, according to the European Commission.
The European Commission also said it has called on the European Food Safety Authority to carry out a scientific opinion on emerging PED viruses that will “enable a more thorough review of the disease situation and risk mitigation measures.”
The new preventive trade measures come as the EU is contesting a Russian ban on EU pork meat imports. Russia claims the ban is necessary to stop the spread of a disease discovered among wild boar in certain regions of Eastern and Central Europe. The EU, noting the disease originated in Russia, has filed a World Trade Organization complaint, saying the EU-wide ban by Russia violates WTO “principle of regionalism.” (68 ITD, 4/9/14)
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