Issue of September 29, 2019
Mt. Province
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Benguet’s safety nets on entry of pork assures quality meats
by Aileen P. Refuerzo / PIO

SWINE FEVER-FREE -- Hog raiser Julio Wakit of Acop, Tublay, Benguet waits for personnel of the Benguet Provincial Veterinary Office to check on his pigs and issuance of animal health certificate prior to being delivered in a community celebration in nearby La Trinidad town. The provincial veterinarian assured there is no case of African Swine Fever monitored in the province but reminded the livestock traders to adhere to the quarantine checkpoints in various sites in the province for food safety. -- Ofelia Empian

Pork and pork products sold in the city are safe from African swine fever (ASF) infection because of the stringent safeguards being implemented by the Benguet provincial government in the light of the ASF outbreak in some provinces.

In her report during the management committee meeting on Sept. 24, City Veterinarian Brigit Piok said the provincial government had imposed a ban on pork, pork products and live swine coming from all ASF-affected areas as part of its effort to protect its swine industry from the deadly and highly contagious viral disease that affects pigs.

With the prohibition, all pork, pork products, and live swine coming from the seven areas with AFS outbreaks namely Quezon City, Quezon Province, Bulacan, Pasig, Caloocan, Rizal and Marikina have not been allowed entry to the province even if these products were issued veterinary health certificates, meat inspection certificates, and shipping permits. 

Piok said the city benefits from Benguet’s measure since all meat and meat products intended for the city’s markets pass through the quarantine checkpoints set up in various entry points located in the different municipalities like Tuba, Sablan, Mankayan, and other towns.

Piok said the Benguet Veterinary Office had been advised to furnish the National Meat Inspection Service national office, the Bureau of Animal Industry and the Food and Drugs Administration with a copy of the provincial order imposing the ban so that they will refrain from issuing clearances for pork deliveries from said banned areas.

The ASF does not affect humans and infects only pigs with high mortality rate of 99 percent, according to Piok.

Its impact is on the economy because with the high mortality rate among pigs, ASF can wipe out the industry and would therefore cause meat prices to spiral and even force the country to resort to pork importation. 

“It does not affect us in fact, pork infected with the disease is safe for human consumption however people are carriers of the disease so that when we bring home contaminated meat whether fresh or frozen we can infect live pigs and this can easily spread.  That is why Benguet is determined to protect its industry by imposing the ban,” Piok said.

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