KOTA KINABALU: Sabah deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan has denied rumours circulating online that pork products in the state are infected with the African swine fever (ASF) virus and that they pose a serious health threat.
“I am aware of the numerous rumours circulating on social media, claiming that consumers should avoid pork because it is hazardous to their health – this is not true,” he said in a statement here tonight.
Kitingan, who is also state agriculture and fisheries minister, said consumers need not be concerned about the safety of pork sold in local markets adding that ASF did not pose a health risk to humans and could not be transmitted from pigs to humans.
“This virus is not harmful to humans but the government is paying attention since it has the potential to cripple our pork industry if no action is taken to curb the spread,” he said.
Despite the discovery of the disease in 10 Sabah districts, of which the most recent was Penampang, Kitingan said commercial pig farms in these areas had so far been spared and their products had been declared ASF-free and safe for consumption.
In Sabah, he said, pigs were slaughtered in the veterinary department’s certified abattoirs before the meat was sold in markets.
“All pigs will be examined for ASF and other diseases before slaughter. Samples will be taken for surveillance where necessary. So far, the department has not found any ASF-infected pigs in any slaughterhouse in Sabah,” he said.
Kitingan said people may find the most up-to-date and accurate information on ASF at the department’s offices throughout Sabah.
He also assured consumers that Sabah’s pork supply would be sufficient to meet demand, particularly during the Chinese New Year period.