Pork from Taiwan arrived in Macau for the first time in 24 years Friday after the island was recently declared a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) free zone where vaccination is not practiced, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said, according to a dispatch today (Saturday) by the Central News Agency (CNA).
The 550-kilogram shipment, delivered on a StarLux Airlines flight, was a trial batch consisting mainly of refrigerated pork and some frozen meat, COA deputy chief Huang Chin-cheng said.
Casino operators in Macau have placed orders with COA-partnered Taiwanese hog farmers for the refrigerated meat of about 200 pigs per week for their restaurants, Huang said.
The shipment to Macau came just weeks after Taiwan, including the offshore counties of Penghu and Lienchiang, was declared in June as a FMD free zone where vaccination is not practiced by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Taiwan’s pig farming industry had export sales of NT$60 billion ($2 billion) in 1996, but was hit hard by an FMD outbreak in 1997, which triggered a ban on exports of fresh pork products, according to the COA.
A few months after the outbreak, Taiwan began FMD vaccination and it gained the status of an FMD-free country or territory where vaccination is practiced in 2003.
In 2009, Taiwan’s government tried to end the FMD vaccination program in an attempt to qualify for non-vaccination status, but that effort failed after seven FMD cases were reported in the island that year, the Taiwanese agency reports.
According to the agriculture authorities, cited by CNA, the recent declaration by the OIE is expected to facilitate the resumption of fresh pork exports from Taiwan, with Macau being its first overseas customer after a 24-year hiatus.