Saravan confiscates pig entrails illegally imported from Vietnam

SARAVAN, Laos (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Authorities in Saravan province on Wednesday confiscated more than 350 kg of pig entrails that were illegally imported from Vietnam.

The items were seized at the Lalai international checkpoint, located along the border between Saravan province and Thua Thien Heu province in Vietnam.

The meat was packed in boxes and transported in a bus and vans. Lao authorities found the shipment as soon as the vehicles crossed the border.

“The meat was owned by a Vietnamese woman in Laos who planned to sell it in Saravan and Champassak provinces,” said the Acting Head of Saravan’s Livestock and Fishery Division, Mr Phetnikone Sinthasack.

“Authorities informed her that the import of pigs and any body parts of pigs had been suspended. We recorded her violation and confiscated all the meat, which will be disposed of. It was her first offence so we didn’t fine her,” Mr Phetnikone added.

This was the second time such items were confiscated in the province after the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry issued a notice last month suspending the import of pigs and pork products from Vietnam and China.

The first shipment that was confiscated included more than 40kg of pork, which had also been imported by Vietnamese nationals living in Laos.

Saravan’s Livestock and Fishery Department has issued a notice warning related sectors to conduct checks for illegally imported goods at international and other checkpoints.

The suspension of pork imports is intended to prevent the spread of African swine fever into Laos from parts of China and Vietnam.

“Currently, no pigs infected with African swine fever have been found in Saravan province,” Mr Phetnikone said.

“After we received the notice suspending the import of pigs and related products from China and Vietnam, we immediately informed the related sectors as well as staff at international and other checkpoints in our area,” said Ms Manida Sansoutham, a representative of the Luang Namtha Livestock and Fishery Division.

“Some illegally imported pork was found at the border crossing but it was for personal consumption and involved only one or two kilograms of pork and was not for sale. Authorities warned the persons concerned and confiscated the meat,” she added.

Officials are keeping an eye open for African swine fever in pigs but no cases have been reported.

“People are aware of the situation but they are not too concerned about African swine fever because it does not infect humans,” Ms Manida said.