The spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) into a new area of Europe has sparked fresh calls from NFU Scotland for proper border checks on imported pigmeat to be brought into place.

The confirmed case of ASF in late May on a domestic pig farm in the south west of Germany is a short distance from the French border.

The latest case is more than 500km away from other outbreaks, suggesting that the disease has been transported.

The union stated that ASF, were it to enter the UK, is a highly contagious disease that would devastate the Scottish pig herd.

The union is on record as having previously requested that the disease threat from ASF be raised from ‘moderate’ to ‘high’ and this latest case justifies that call.

The union has also called government plans to postpone proper border checks on food entering the UK from Europe until the end of 2023 as ‘utter madness’.

NFU Scotland pigs working group chair, Jamie Wyllie said:

“This devastating disease is not in the UK and the government should be doing everything within its powers to keep it out.

“Instead, the UK government continues to leave pig producers exposed to African Swine Fever, a disease that would wipe out our pig production were contaminated pork products to arrive on our shores.

"We are on record calling for the threat from ASF to be raised from ‘moderate’ to ‘high’ and for UK retailers to seriously reconsider where in Europe they are choosing to import pork from.

“Border checks are absolutely crucial to our biosecurity, animal health and food safety and without them we are leaving ourselves at risk.

"The UK government has kicked the can down the road and recently postponed introducing proper border checks on goods entering the UK from the EU for a fourth time.

“For Scotland’s beleaguered pig sector, the lack of checks at the border on EU pork imports not only gives a competitive advantage but presents an unacceptable risk to the health and welfare of the Scottish pig herd.

“The latest German outbreak, which has 'jumped' 500km from known disease cases in wild boar, shows how easily the disease can be spread and can only have happened through movement of humans, pigs or food rather than wildlife.

"It highlights how easily the disease could enter the UK without proper checks in place.

“Illegal imports of products of animal origin, coming in with travellers or by mail, also presents a risk and we welcome Scottish government introducing sniffer dogs trained to detect illegal meat at some of Scotland’s ports, airports and parcel hubs.

"These dogs have demonstrated that there are significant quantities of illegal meat coming into the country by these routes and we remind everyone that even small parcels for meat imported in this manner and for personal consumption are an unacceptable risk and are illegal.