MORE than 300kg of illegal meats has been seized at Harwich Port as part of an operation to prevent an African swine fever outbreak in the UK.

A joint operation between Border Force and the Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority (SCPHA) is cracking down on smuggled meats at the ports Harwich and Felixstowe.

Team members from the SCPHA, which performs health checks on food and animal products imported into the Port of Felixstowe, Harwich International Port and the Port of Ipswich, have used their expertise to identify, inspect and seize more than 300kg of illegal meats found by Border Force in traffic arriving from EU countries.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Border Force and SCPHA work together to reduce the chances of an ASF outbreak in the UKBorder Force and SCPHA work together to reduce the chances of an ASF outbreak in the UK (Image: SCPHA)

Richard Jacobs, port health manager of SCPHA, said: “This joint operation will further our mission of the protection of public and animal health while strengthening our long-standing relationship with Border Force.

“Every day our over 100 team members check imported food and animal products to ensure they’re safe for use and consumption while rejecting imports that fail UK health standards. Such experience is vital to reducing the chances an ASF outbreak in Britain.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Illegal pork products seized by SCPHAIllegal pork products seized by SCPHA (Image: SCPHA)

African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs with potentially devastating effects on pig populations and the farming economy, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Following a risk assessment by the Animal and Plant Health Agency on the threat of African swine fever, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced new controls restricting the movement of pork and pork products into Britain to help safeguard the island’s pig population.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

It means travellers from the EU are no longer allowed to bring pork or pork products weighing over 2kg into Britain unless they are produced to the EU's commercial standards.

Rich, one of two SCPHA Team Leaders taking part in the joint operation, said: “We’ve seized over 300kg of meats across two weeks, which shows how serious the threat is.

“Alongside our colleagues in Border Force, we’re committed to keeping the UK safe and ensuring the products coming through our ports are verified and suitable to be eaten by both humans and animals.”