February 13, 2024
Belgium's first pork shipment heads to China following end of ban
A Belgian container of pig heads, ears and snouts had left for China — the first pork shipment from Belgium to China after six years since the lifting of China's embargo on Belgian pig and pork products.
China halted imports of Belgian pork in September 2018 due to the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in Belgium. Although Belgium was officially declared disease-free in 2020, the import ban remained in place.
After years of intensive cooperation between food safety agency FAVV and the Belgian and Chinese authorities, China suspended the embargo last January.
The pig parts for China are subject to additional quality requirements.
"For example, the Chinese demand that the meat comes from pigs born and raised in Belgium, and the treatment of Belgian export products must also take place in a separate room or at a separate time," said Joris Coenen of the Belgian Meat Office, part of the Flemish Center for Agro- and Fisheries Marketing (VLAM).
The export of these parts of the animal means both additional turnover and additional employment in the slaughterhouse.