A shocking discovery of illegal meat in lorries was discovered at Dover Port earlier this month, raising concerns for the threat of African swine fever (ASF) hitting the UK.
Officials from Dover Port Health Authority (DPHA) inspected 22 lorries and found illegal meat imports in 21 of those vehicles during a 24 hour period, which included 2.5t of illegal pork products.
The inspected lorries originated from Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Poland and included raw animal products loosely stored in carrier bags and tissue without temperate control, refrigeration or labelling. Some products were also found in holdalls, taped up cardboard boxes and sealed cool boxes, which were destined to be sold at markets and independent stores in Britain.
From September 1, it has been illegal to bring pork or pork products weighing over 2kg into the country unless they are produced to the EU’s commercial standards.
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said “There are up to 10,000 vehicle movements across the channel each day. It is clear that the risk of maggoty meat, meat of unknown origin, which often means horse or other illegal meat, rotting meat due to the lack of temperature controls, as well as fresh blood dripping on to other products, is of real concern.”
Elphicke also highlighted the ASF risk, citing government warnings that the disease ‘poses a significant risk to our pig herd and out long-term ability to export pork and pork products around the globe.’
These findings illustrate just how vital the new sanitary and phytosanitary checks are which Defra instigated in response to the threat of ASF entering the UK. The more we can prevent the movement of contaminated meat (both illegal and via travellers bringing in food) the better our chance of avoiding an outbreak.