Around 11 thousand pork products seized in Central Visayas
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - June 15, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in Central Visayas has yet to dispose of the confiscated processed pork products from stores in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental.

Lawyer Anabelle de Veyra, FDA-7 director, said they are still waiting for instructions from the head office on the mode of disposal.

DFA-7 seized 10,824 pieces or 600 boxes of processed pork products as the threat of spreading the African Swine Fever (ASF) remains high.

De Veyra said the confiscated processed meat products were already inventoried and sealed to ensure that these will not be distributed to retailers and to the general public.

 “We are waiting further instruction from our head office as to the mode of destruction," she said yesterday.

The products came from 16 countries believed to be affected by the ASF virus.

The FDA extended its temporary ban on processed pork products.

The ban now covers processed pork meat products from Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, and Belgium.

The ban, which was first implemented in September 2018, initially covered only seven countries – China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.

Moreover, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol, in a Facebook post on Friday, said several cans of luncheon meat that were earlier seized from an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) at the Clark International Airport had been tested positive for ASF.

The confiscated canned goods were from an unidentified OFW who came home from Hong Kong last March 25.

Based on findings of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI), Piñol said, the seized pork luncheon meat was tested using an ASF Taqman PCR Assay at the Animal Disease and Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory (ADDRL).

“So far, no African swine fever infections have been reported in pigs in the country. The detection of the virus in seized products does not change Philippine’s African Swine Fever-free status,” said Dr. Rachel Azul of DA-BAI.

Piñol said the seizure is a warning for the industry.

If introduced, ASF would have a significant impact on pig health and production and contribute to enormous economic losses.

"Bawal na po magpasok ng mga delata at processed pork products sa bansa. Huhulihin po kayo at pagmumultahin," Piñol said.

Piñol said the DA-BAI has already deployed sniffing dogs in the major airports as a deterrent.

The DA secretary, however, said there should be stricter implementation of the country’s quarantine measures to prevent the entry of animal diseases like ASF.  — KBQ (FREEMAN)

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