China has said it will ban any imports of German pork after a case of African swine fever (ASF) was found in a dead wild boar in Germany, near the Polish border last week.

The Chinese customs office and agriculture ministry have stated that the ban will take effect immediately, and it will cover all pork products. Pork products which are already on route to China will be returned or destroyed, it said.

The ban is set to be an enormous blow for German pork producers, who exported around £924 million worth of pork to China last year.

After ASF forced China to cull around 50% of all its pigs since 2018, it turned to the global markets for pork, which was a boost for the German pork industry, but also drove up prices in Germany and around the world.

According to the German office of national statistics, the country exported around £391 million worth of pork to China between January and April 2020.

South Korea has already announced its ban on German pork imports last week. This came immediately after the suspected case of ASF was confirmed.

First confirmed case of ASF in Germany

The first confirmed case of ASF in Germany was announced by the German Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner last Thursday (September 10).

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The National Reference Laboratory for ASF at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute carried out the test on bones from a "largely decayed" carcass of a wild boar found around 6km from the border.

"It can, therefore, be assumed that the entry took place a few weeks ago," a statement from the institute read.

The risk of the pathogen being introduced into Germany was classified as ‘high’. A series of strict measures have been introduced to avoid any further cases and the activation of a crisis management plan.

"The geographic distance to the closest confirmed case of ASF in Poland is only 30km. The proximity to the German-Polish border of about 6km makes an entry by a migrating wild boar likely," the statement read.

An introduction by humans through contaminated food cannot be ruled out. The responsible veterinary authorities on site must now take the necessary measures.