European Commission declares Belgium free from ASF

Brussels, 20 November 2020

In September 2018, ASF was found in wild boar in Belgium’s most southern province Luxembourg. Immediately a wide range of measures were put in place to prevent the disease from spreading into other regions or into Belgium’s large, domestic pig population. These measures and the decisive actions taken by the local  authorities were effective. On 20 November, the EC removed the regulated ASF regions in Belgium, thereby declaring Belgium free from ASF. Domestic pigs were never affected.

The removal of the zones happens a little over one year after the last traces of ASF circulation were found in the wild population. To take that decision, the EC took into account the effectiveness of the overall measures being applied in Belgium. Measures that were taken in accordance with European legislation and in line with the risk mitigation measures for AFS set out in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the World Organization for Animal Health (the OIE Code). Even though the disease is now eradicated, strict surveillance and control measures remain in place.

A file to declare the ASF free status has also been submitted to the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE). This file is under evaluation, but in view of favourable epidemiological situation of the disease, the confirmation of the ASF free status should soon be published on the OIE website.

The free status is an essential step for importers worldwide to import pork from Belgium. Belgian pork companies supply yearly over one million tonnes, or almost 5% of the European production. The Belgian pork suppliers are known for the quality of their pork and the high level of service they offer.

"It is a relief for the Belgian pork suppliers that the EC confirms the ASF freedom. The OIE free status, soon to be confirmed, will be the next and last step in this episode. We’ll provide importing countries with all information necessary so they can adapt their importing regulations accordingly. That way, people from all over the world can soon enjoy delicious Belgian pork again."

Joris Coenen, Manager Belgian Meat Office