Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol confirmed to The STAR that his department will issue an order banning the entry of pork and pork products from Vietnam following the first case detected in the ASEAN region.
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African swine fever now in ASEAN
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The African swine fever has crossed over to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), prompting the Philippines to further tighten security by banning pork imports from neighboring Vietnam in efforts to protect the P200-billion local hog industry.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol confirmed to The STAR that his department will issue an order banning the entry of pork and pork products from Vietnam following the first case detected in the ASEAN region.

He also directed all quarantine posts in the Philippines to check the possible entry of pork products in various airports and seaports.

The government of Taiwan has increased scrutiny of travellers from Vietnam after the ASF virus has been detected in some pork products.

The contaminated meat products were discovered by Taiwanese authorities and there has been no official notice or warning issued by the Vietnamese government.

The Taiwanese government has been testing samples of pork products from foreign countries since last year, when the ASF virus was first detected.

Of 1,158 samples, 928 products have completed the inspection. There have so far been 20 samples found contaminated with ASF, all of which came from China.

However, a tested sample from neighboring Vietnam was discovered to contain the ASF virus just a few days ago.

Agriculture group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), on the other hand, urged DA to ensure travellers coming from Vietnam and other affected ASF countries will undergo 100 percent checking in airports.

“The Philippines is an island and our restrictions should be on the vessels. Our risks are through our airports and seaports,” SINAG chairman Rosendo So told The STAR.

“While we do not really import much from Vietnam, the danger is on what the tourists will bring in to the country. That’s what we are worried about,” he added.

Just last week, the Department of Agriculture has expanded the importation ban on pigskin leather amid continuous outbreaks of the virus.

The ASF has been described by experts as a “contagious, untreatable and often fatal virus sweeping the global pig population – and future mutations could affect humans.”

ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar and American wild pig. Mortality rates are high as 100 percent.

Pork import ban is still in effect for 14 countries; Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, Zambia, Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, China and Japan.

Currently, there is a mandatory inspection, in coordination with other concerned agencies, of all vessels docking in Philippine ports with meat supplies and fishing boats returning from the West Philippine Sea because of reports of bartering of sea products with imported meat.

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
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