MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted a number of pork products from Hong Kong and China at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in between June 19 to 28.
The items didn’t have sanitary and phytosanitary clearances from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and could have been infested by the deadly pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF).
China is one of the 19 countries from where entry of pork and pork-based products are banned.
From a total of 400 samples that BAI examined, 34 tested positive of ASF and these products could have caused infestation in the country’s hog industry if they were not intercepted.
Germany was the latest addition to the list of countries where entry of pork products to the Philippines was banned.
Though there were no reports yet of ASF-infestation in Germany, the Philippines included it in the list after a German company exported pork products to the Philippines along with some 250 kilograms of pork from ASF-hit Poland.
The said shipment was intercepted in Cebu on June 27 which included 27 boxes of pork items from Poland.
That incident, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, was a clear violation of the country’s Quarantine Law thus resulting in the ban of pork products from Germany.
“Nakikiusap ako.(‘Im appealing to you) Please understand, these are extraordinary times. We cannot take the risk,” Secretary Piñol said.
“Kasi tingnan mo, Germany napaka-respectable na bansa nyan. It’s export country known for its high standards, nasingitan tayo, (You see Germany is a highly respected country. It’s exports are known for its high standards but some banned (pork) slip past their screening,)” he explained.
Piñol stressed that ASF infestation would compromise the country’s P260-B worth of hog industry.
Some of the Philippines’ neighboring countries have already declared an outbreak of ASF such as Vietnam and Cambodia.
In May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked store owners to self-recall pork products from China that covers those manufactured since the start of the import ban.
Still, Piñol assures the Philippines’ hog industry remains ASF free. – with reports from Rey Pelayo
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