Online selling blamed for new ASF outbreaks

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - September 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Online meat selling is seen as the culprit for the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in the country.

In a radio interview, Bureau of Animal Industry director Ronnie Domingo said new outbreaks, which were recorded after quarantine rules were relaxed, were traced to ”new strategies” by sellers.

“They no longer transport the whole pig. Instead, they process it, like longganisa, and do online selling,” Domingo said.

“That longganisa was probably made from cheap meat that may be infected with ASF. The seller cannot transport it due to the checkpoints so they just processed it into longganisa,” he added.

The National Meat Inspection Service is working with local government units (LGUs) to implement measures to stop the sale of unsafe and mishandled meat by online sellers.

“We continue to talk with LGUs because they are more active in local engagement like issuing ordinances, maintaining checkpoints and monitoring reports in farms, slaughterhouses and wet markets,” Domingo said.

He said areas near Metro Manila, such as Albay, Quirino, Batangas, Quezon, Laguna and Cavite, are among the areas that recorded new outbreaks.

Border control

As this developed, the Albay provincial government imposed stricter border control in four areas to prevent the spread of the swine disease.

Pancho Mella, Albay provincial veterinary office chief, said the lockdowns were imposed in Ligao City, Pioduran, Guinobatan and Jovellar.

Mella said entry and exit of pigs in Pioduran was prohibited after hogs in Barangay Karatagan were infected. More than 100 pigs were culled.

He said transport of hogs is allowed in Guinobatan, Jovellar and Ligao City, but only within their respective  areas.

Mella said animal quarantine checkpoints were set up at the Albay–Camarines Sur and Albay–Sorsogon boundaries.

He said the lockdown would not affect pork supply in the province, noting that only 10 percent is sourced from other areas. - Cet Dematera

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