The National Pig Association (NPA) is seeking clarity on the regulations that would apply to UK pork exports should an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) occur.

The association is questioning whether the European Union’s (EU) regionalisation approach would apply in the UK.

Under the EU’s ASF regulations, where an outbreak occurs, the sale of pork products from the affected region to other member states is outlawed.

However, exports can continue from regions of the country not affected by ASF to other parts of the EU.

This rule has been applied in a number of member states that have experienced ASF outbreaks in recent years, including Germany, Italy and Poland. The UK continues to import pork from ASF-free regions of affected countries.

But, the NPA has said that it remains unclear what regulations the UK would implement following the UK’s departure from the EU.

UK regionalisation in the event of ASF will be part of the Disease of Swine Regulations expected to be laid before parliament next year.

NPA chief executive, Lizzie Wilson has called for more clarity on UK regulations. “We don’t know if our trading partners would recognise regionalisation if we had an outbreak now,” she said.

“We need clarity on this because, if we don’t have regionalisation, it could mean a virtual blanket ban on pork exports from anywhere in the UK – and that would be catastrophic for a sector that has already suffered so much over the past two years.”

Wilson said the association is seeking answers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), as well as the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on the current situation and plans for new domestic legislation next year.