Pork industry braces for African swine fever

Chinese pigs
Thousands of Chinese pigs have been culled. Photo credit: Getty

Farmers hope lessons from the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak will prevent the spread of a deadly pig disease.

African swine fever has reached China. New Zealand Pork chair Eric Roy says keeping a closer eye on imports is essential to stop it reaching here.

"This particular disease can reside alive and well in frozen products for many years," he told Newshub. "It can come in semi-processed product."

Around 10 European Union countries have reported the disease. The latest outbreak in China killed nine pigs and infected 12, Reuters reports.

Mr Roy says urgent action is needed to protect the $750 million industry.

"It's far more contagious than Mycoplasma bovis, which is something the country is now grappling with because the standards weren't good enough."

China is home to half the world's pig population. Around 38,000 animals have been culled to try and halt the fever's spread, The Independent reports.

It's spread by ticks, contaminated food and contact between pigs.

The disease is not harmful to humans, but Mr Roy says there's a lot at stake for local farmers.

"Their life savings, for want of a better term, and their income and the income of their workers."

Newshub.