Animal disease: Consumers are not at risk from African swine fever
Many people worry that the African swine fever (ASP), which is currently rampant in Eastern Europe, will soon also come to Germany. The highly contagious disease is usually fatal to pigs. However, it does not pose a health risk to humans. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) draws attention to this.
African swine fever could be brought to Germany
The African swine fever (ASP), originally native to Africa, crossed the EU border years ago. It is currently rampant in various countries in Eastern Europe. In this country too there is a high risk of the disease being introduced. However, consumers do not have to worry. Because, according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the pathogen is not transferable to humans.
No health risk for humans
The African swine fever (ASP) currently raging in Eastern Europe could soon spread to Germany.
However, the disease does not pose a health risk for humans: "The pathogen of the ASP is not transferable to humans," explains Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, President of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in a press release.
"Neither direct contact with sick animals nor the consumption of food that comes from infected domestic or wild boar poses a health risk."
In the past, warnings about animal souvenirs were repeatedly given in connection with the ASP.
For example, it was pointed out years ago that no pork was imported from Russia or Ukraine.
Different transmission paths
ASP is caused by a virus that affects wild boars and domestic pigs and that leads to a serious, often fatal disease of the animals. The pathogen is transmitted via direct contact, via excretions of infected animals or via ticks.
The ASP virus is native to infected wild animals in African countries. But there are always outbreaks in southern Europe. Since 2007, the pathogen has spread from Georgia to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia to the northwest.
ASP cases in wild boars and outbreaks in domestic pigs have been recorded in the Baltic States since 2014. The virus was also found in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Always prepare meat hygienically
The pathogen is extremely stable and can remain infectious in food for several months.
If unheated food or unheated food residues that come from infected animals are fed to non-infected animals, the virus can therefore spread to previously ASP-free regions and thus also to the domestic pig population.
"In non-cooked pork products (e.g. house or wild boar salami / ham), the ASP virus remains stable over a long period of time," the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) wrote in a message.
"Wild boars can become infected with the pathogen by feeding or improperly disposing of appropriate products, such as throwing away leftovers at rest areas," the experts continued.
Although the ASP virus is neither a danger nor a risk for humans, domestic and wild boar meat, like any other raw meat, should always be prepared hygienically, since it can also contain other pathogens, the BfR recommends.
According to the experts, it should be kept refrigerated and prepared separately from other foods before cooking. When heated, a temperature of 70 degrees or higher should be reached inside the piece of meat for at least two minutes. (ad)