Quezon City government workers load pigs, culled to curb the spread of African swine fever, onto a truck as police officers secure the area in Barangay Lupang Pangako in Payatas yesterday. Mayor Joy Belmonte assured the public that pork sold in Quezon City is safe from ASF.
Miguel de Guzman
‘Regulation of movement of processed meat better under DA’
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The movement of processed meat products across the country would be more efficient if the regulation of domestic trade of meat products is returned to the Department of Agriculture (DA), an industry group said.

On the sidelines of a press conference Friday, Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) spokesman Rex Agarrado told reporters that meat processors are having difficulties in moving their products in some provinces amid the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).

He said some provinces look for various meat certifications and permits that are issued by the DA and the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).

Meat processors, however, no longer receive such certifications from the DA when their goods are processed, as they now fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health (DOH).

“When we import our meat, we get permits from the DA, BAI (Bureau of Animal Industry). When it arrives, it is actually being checked by the NMIS. At least that is where their franchise ends,” Agarrado said.

“When we start processing it, we now fall under DOH. When we move our goods across borders, it is now the DOH that handles us. And unfortunately, the provinces are used to looking for documents from the DA. That’s the problem,” Agarrado said.

The domestic trade of processed meat products used to be overseen by the DA particularly through the NMIS.

However, under the Food Safety Act of 2013, this task was moved to the DOH particularly to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In line with the challenges experienced by meat processors in the movement of their goods, Agarrado said it would be better if the NMIS oversees the domestic trade of processed meat products.

“Over the years billions have been spent to train the NMIS, experts from many countries were sent to train them. All of a sudden, that treasure chest of knowledge goes nowhere,” Agarrado said.

“I think FDA is correct to handle the other industries, but meat has to be handled by the DA,” he added, noting this is being done in other countries such as the United States and Australia.

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF MEAT PROCESSORS INC.
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