Japan will accept Tico pork and products

The country’s pig processors can resume shipment to Japan, the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior said Friday.

The Japanese had closed down the pork market for Costa Rica over fear of a contagious viral pig disease. The malady called classic swine fever had not been seen in the country since at least 1997. Costa Rica declared itself free of the disease in 2009, said the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization.

However, Japan did not recognize this declaration and suspended pork imports.

Pork production is a big business in Costa Rica. The Food and Agricultural Organization estimated in 2009 that there were 125 commercial farms in the country and that more than 12,000 family farms raised pigs. The agency estimated that there were 336,000 pigs in the country, and the per capita consumption was about 9 kilos.

Costa Rica has been trying to increase exports to Asia. The commerce ministry said that the Japanese Embassy here has been working with the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal to insure that the pork is disease free.

The suspension also was lifted for pork products, such as sausage and bacon, said the ministry.

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