Pork lovers worldwide are wincing at prices that have jumped up to 40 percent as African swine fever in China’s vast pig herds sends shockwaves through global meat markets.
China produces and consumes two-thirds of the world’s pork, but supplies are falling as Beijing destroys herds and blocks shipments. Importers are filling the gap by buying pork as far away as Europe, boosting prices and causing shortages in some markets.
African swine fever doesn’t harm humans. It’s deadly and spreads quickly among pigs. It was first reported in August in China’s northeast. Since then, 1 million pigs have died and the disease has spread to most Chinese provinces.
The higher prices are a serious concern in places such as Cambodia where pork is the only affordable meat for many families.