Hong Kong has confirmed an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) among its pigs in January, which has lead Indonesia to ban imports of Chinese corn.

“It (FMD) has been an endemic disease in Hong Kong over 40 years and occurs in pigs during the winter months,” the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said in a written reply to questions from Reuters.
“In January this year, AFCD received three reports of FMD in local farms,” it said.

Yesterday [Tuesday], Indonesia’s agriculture ministry said it had imposed the ban on Chinese corn imports on 18 March following the FMD outbreak in Hong Kong. It is so far unclear if and how the outbreak in Hong Kong was linked to mainland China or its corn.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in Hong Kong, which imports large numbers of live animals from China, told Reuters: “So far, no evidence of FMD disease have been found in livestock imported from the mainland.”

Hong Kong imported 1.7 million live pigs, 50,000 live cattle and 4,000 live goats from the mainland last year, the department added.