China to require meat processors to test for African swine fever - ag ministry

BEIJING, April 3 (Reuters) -

* China’s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday it will require pork processors handling raw pork to test for the presence of the African swine fever virus from May 1

* The tougher procedures come as the virus continues to spread through the world’s largest pig herd. It has often been found in food products

* The virus is not harmful to people but can be passed on to other pigs through consumption of food waste that is not properly processed. It is usually fatal for pigs.

* Processors should be inspected and show certificates to demonstrate that purchased pig products, including imported meat, do not contain the virus, said the notice published on the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs’ website

* Provincial market supervision departments will organise sampling of pork products to check for the virus, it added

* China has reported 116 outbreaks of African swine fever since the disease was first detected last August, although many believe it is much worse than officially reported. (Reporting by Dominique Patton; editing by Christian Schmollinger)