The industry body worked alongside the Obama administration to convince Pretoria to lift a de facto ban on US pork.
South Africa is now welcoming a variety of raw, frozen, bellies, hams, loins, ribs and shoulders of pork from the US for unrestricted sale and other pork for further processing.
“NPPC is pleased that South Africa has followed through with a commitment to open its market to US pork,” said the organisation’s president, Dr Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from South Carolina.
“Now, we can sell safe, high-quality and affordable US pork to more than 50 million new consumers. US pork producers had been on the outside looking in, as competitors from Brazil, Canada, and the European Union sold pork to South Africa, which banned our product using non-science-based restrictions that didn’t pass the red face test.”
One of the restrictions was put in place in an effort to succumb porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) to South African livestock. This was despite the risk of disease transmission from US pork products being negligible, according to the NPPC.
The organisation claimed there were no documented scientific cases of PRRS being transmitted to domestic livestock through imported pork. To back this argument, it highlighted that New Zealand, a PRRS-free country, imported pork for 10 years from PRRS-positive countries without getting the disease.
“While we now can sell pork in South Africa, there is no scientific reason to restrict any of our pork, so we’ll continue to work with the governments in Washington and Pretoria to get complete access to that market,” added Prestage.
South Africa revealed it would partially lift its ban on US pork in early January, after the Obama administration threatened to suspend its trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.