Issue of June 9, 2019
     
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DA asks couriers to reject meat products from countries w/ ASF
by PNA release

In an effort to intensify quarantine security to prevent the entry of pork and pork products affected by the dreaded African swine fever (ASF) in the country, Department Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol issued Memorandum Circular 7 directing all courier service companies to stop accepting canned meat and other meat products coming from ASF-affected countries for shipment.

The DA also banned importation of live domestic and live pigs and their products including pork meat and semen coming from Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, Zambia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and North Korea.

“Furthermore, all arriving agricultural commodities from restricted countries are subject to immediate stoppage, confiscation, and destruction by the Veterinary Quarantine Officers (VQOs) at the border of entry for proper disposal,” the memorandum read.

Piñol said there is a need to cover other identified pathways for the entry and spread of the dreaded virus, such as the transport or shipment of meat and meat products including canned meat from ASF-affected countries, through courier services as the risk of introduction of ASF is high due to unregulated movement of products.

Quarantine officers in Subic Port in Zambales on May 29 seized a refrigerated container from China which yielded meatballs stashed behind boxes of fish tofu, which was the declared cargo.

Following the Subic Port interception, the DA has ordered a 100 percent inspection of all refrigerated vans, especially those coming from ASF-affected countries.

Piñol said he also ordered the deployment of the first batch of 15 meat-sniffing dogs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

He also asked Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade to require airlines and vessels coming to the Philippines from ASF-affected and high risk countries to advise passengers against bringing meat into the country.

The DA also proposes the acquisition of X-ray machines to ensure thorough checking of the baggages of incoming passengers.

Quarantine security has been intensified following the rapid spread of the ASF in China and other Asian countries.

While it has not been proven to be harmful to humans, ASF could wipe out the country’s P200 billion hog industry as there is no known vaccine or cure for it.

China has already culled almost 40 percent of its hog population as its inflation rate shot up while Vietnam has eliminated about two million of its hog population.


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