The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) announces that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed African swine fever in pigs in the Dominican Republic. The disease, African swine fever (ASF), does not affect people or other animals but is devastating for swine. If ASF is found in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, it would cost the U.S. billions of dollars in the pork industry.
On Sept. 16, The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a federal order suspending the interstate movement of all live swine, swine germplasm, swine products and swine byproducts from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the mainland until sufficient mitigations could be established to authorize such movement.
The Dec. 2 revised federal order, effective immediately, outlines mitigations that will allow certain products to move to the mainland United States while continuing to provide necessary protections against ASF.
The revised federal order allows for processed swine products and byproducts to move from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as cargo if they are commercially cooked, hermetically sealed, and are shelf stable without refrigeration. These products must be accompanied by documentation confirming the products were treated according to APHIS requirements.
The revised federal order also allows travelers to bring certain processed swine products and byproducts in passenger baggage. These products must be shelf stable, packed in hermetically sealed containers, and cooked by a commercial method. Unprocessed swine product and byproducts in passenger baggage will not be allowed to enter any other states or territories.
This action is being taken as part of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) continuing efforts to respond to the detection of African swine fever in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and to prevent its introduction into the contiguous United States, Puerto Rico and the USVI. APHIS is confident that its many existing preventative measures and mitigations, along with the protection zone, will protect the livestock industry from swine flu and ensure the continued export of U.S. pork.
For more information regarding the federal order, contact Dawn Hunter, Ph. D., at Dawn.K.Hunter@usda.gov. For additional information about protecting pigs in the USVI, contact the V.I. Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services teams on St. Croix at 642-7320 or St. Thomas at 774-5182.