ALTHOUGH there has been no reported case of the African swine fever (ASF) in Cebu, the Provincial Government is prohibiting the entry of all meat or food products that have been commingled with pork-related products from Luzon.
Aside from this, the ban on shipments of live hogs, pork, pork-related products, by-products and boar semen from Luzon has been extended to June 30, 2020. The ban was originally to end this Dec. 28.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, Executive Order (EO) 23 which declares as unlawful the bringing into Cebu Province of any and all kinds of meat (chicken, beef or fish) and any kind of food product that have been stored in the same cold storage facility with pork, pork- related products and byproducts sourced from Luzon.
The Central Visayas offices of the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and the Department of Agriculture will determine if there was commingling or mixing of food products with pork-related products from Luzon. The direct shipment of chicken, pork, fish, beef or any food product from ASF-free countries will be allowed entry in Cebu. Provided that the imported product is accompanied by a sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance or a veterinary quarantine clearance from the Bureau of Animal Industry.
The transshipment of all kinds of meat that pass through Luzon, on the other hand, shall be prohibited unless the seal of the container van carrying the meat products remains intact and untampered.
The provincial ASF task force seized 3,800 kilos of processed pork from a liempo and lechon manok store in Barangay Casuntingan, Mandaue City on Oct. 20, 2019. The store is a branch of a Pasig City establishment. But aside from the pork products, the task force found chicken meat products in the same cold storage. The NMIS advised that the chicken meat be disposed of through thermal destruction.
Provincial Veterinarian Mary Rose Vincoy said that while the ASF is only fatal to pigs, commingling would expose the chicken meat to possible fomites and bacterial contamination.
As for the extension of the ban, the governor decided on the matter after samples of Mekeni Food Corp. skinless longaniza and hotdog tested positive for ASF.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi) recognized the governor’s prerogative to extend the ban. "We are also thankful that she has realized that sales and marketability of pigs in Cebu has gone down. We hope that she will see things from a wider perspective and work with industry stakeholders for win-win solutions," Pampi said. (RTF, JOB)