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New Farming Minister highlights #MuckFreeTruck campaign in Parliament

21st Jun 2019 / By Alistair Driver

New Agriculture Minister Robert Goodwill has drawn attention to the NPA/AHDB-led #MuckFreeTruck campaign in the House of Commons.

Robert GoodwillMr Goodwill was asked by East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight what steps he is taking to improve biosecurity in the UK in the context of the African Swine Fever threat. Sir Greg also asked what additional steps the Minister has taken to ensure that trucks transporting pigs are not at risk of transmitting the virus – the focus of the #MuckFreeTruck campaign.

Mr Goodwill said the UK has robust measures and guidance in place to protect against the introduction of exotic diseases like ASF, including import bans on livestock and products of animal origin from high risk areas, a movement standstill regime and the swill feeding ban.

He added that the International Disease Monitoring team regularly assesses global changing disease trends and the potential risk to the UK. 

He said: “There is existing legislation which requires the cleansing and disinfection of any vehicles used to transport livestock. Local Authorities are responsible for enforcement and have powers to take action if they believe an operator has not complied with these regulations.

“A Government led campaign is currently running to raise awareness of the increased risk of ASF and measures that individuals can take to avoid the accidental introduction of disease.

“The UK Chief Veterinary Officer has also endorsed the National Pig Association’s #MuckFreeTruck campaign.”

You can read more about the campaign here

lorry washingNPA chief executive Zoe Davies said she was delighted to see the campaign discussed in Parliament. She stressed that it was a cross-industry initiative, with backing from various organisations, including AHDB Pork, Red Tractor, the British Meat Processors Association, the British Pig Association, the Pig Veterinary Society and the National Fallen Stock Company.

Speaking at the latest meeting of the NPA Producer Group on Tuesday, she outlined plans AHDB Pork have to produce posters to be displayed at relevant locations stressing the importance of cleaning trucks properly.

“Information posters for farms, processing plants and anywhere trucks are being washed, as well as stickers for trucks will be produced. We want the whole supply chain to be included, looking at what more can be done to raise awareness at farm level, and working closely with hauliers. We also want to work with processors to see what their issues are and what else they can do.

“It is not just about livestock trucks – it is also about feed trucks and deadstock trucks, any vehicles that come onto farms.”

“We don’t want to point fingers at any particular area but want to raise awareness across the board about the need to ensure trucks are properly cleaned. Evidence from across the world has shown, whether it is exotic diseases like ASF or endemic problems like swine dysentery, dirty trucks spread disease.  

“We at least need to encourage people to be prepared to turn away trucks if they turn up dirty and to ensure their own trucks are clean when they return from the abattoir.”

"AHDB pork will also be producing an online survey for hauliers that will give them the opportunity to address specific issues with washing facilities, which we can then use as evidence to show government what is needed."