During the month of April, AETS was tasked with organising a Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) workshop in Beijing, China. The 4-day workshop (9-12 April) aimed to improve the knowledge and understanding of EU legislation on animal health which provides protection against the introduction and spread of African Swine Fever. The workshop was organised under the scope of the ongoing contract awarded by European Commission Directorate General for Health and Safety (DG SANTE), and more specifically, the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA), which aims to improve the capacity in non-EU countries on the matter of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS measures). By further building capacity on the subject of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China, the EU intends to ensure that China establishes effective surveillance and control programmes that are compliant with the philosophy of EU legislation and OIE standards.

ASF is a devastating viral infection that affects exposed pigs and wild boars, causing haemorrhagic fever which often leads to the death of the animal. Currently, no vaccine exists to combat the virus. ASF does not affect humans, nor does it affect other animal species. It can be transmitted either via direct animal contact or via dissemination of contaminated food (e.g. sausages or uncooked meat).

The European Union has laid down preventative and control measures that are to be applied where African Swine Fever is suspected or confirmed, either in holdings or in wild boars. These include information measures and measures to prevent and eradicate the disease. The overarching piece of legislation providing the tool for the control of African Swine Fever in the EU is Council Directive 2002/60/EC of 27 June 2002.

The EU legislation referenced above is fully in line with the OIE international standards. Nevertheless, in order to ensure a higher level of animal health protection, the EU goes beyond the OIE requirements and applies stricter standards.

The BTSF (Better Training for Safer Food) initiative is actively participating in the fight against ASF with the training of officials in the Member States and other countries. Therefore, the Beijing workshop aimed to support the Chinese competent authorities in combatting the further spread of African Swine Fever, as well as provide extensive knowledge which could contribute to the capacity building for future prevention of ASF in China and the greater region.

The workshop was organised for participants from China, addressed, primarily, to staff from the Chinese competent authorities. A total of about 35 participants attended the workshop.