China Pork Supply May Not Recover Quickly

The supply of fresh pork from China may not recover soon as the African swine fever epidemic on the mainland curtails the availability of the popular meat.

The government has been in talks with Chinese authorities to increase the supply of fresh pork as soon as possible, but it’s not likely to “swiftly return to previous levels in the short term,” Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan wrote in a blog post on the bureau’s website Saturday.

It could be as long as a decade before China recovers from its outbreak of the deadly pig disease that’s decimating hog herds, according to Cargill Inc. The virus, which kills most infected pigs within 10 days, has already spread to most Chinese provinces.

China has culled more than 1 million pigs because of the disease in the past year, Chan said.

One of the three licensed slaughterhouses in Hong Kong may shutter within the month due to the shortage of pigs from China, Sing Tao Daily reported on Saturday. Owners of the Tsuen Wan slaughterhouse are planning to apply for the land to be used as a columbarium, a site for storing funeral urns, the paper reported, citing two people in the industry who didn’t wish to be identified.

The government hasn’t received formal notice from Tsuen Wan slaughterhouse on operational changes, Chui Tak-yi, under secretary for food and health, told reporters in a briefing Saturday.