FDA orders recall of pork products from African Swine Fever-affected countries

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2019   •   4226

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered a market recall of all pork-based products that are manufactured from countries affected by the deadly pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF).

The recall order includes canned goods like luncheon meat and processed pork with manufacturing date from August 2018 when the country’s import ban on pork took effect, up to present.

The agency also calls on traders not to sell these products anymore.

According to Health Undersecretary and FDA Officer-In-Charge Eric Domingo, ASF is highly contagious and the risk is high especially when contamination spreads into the country’s swine industry.

Domingo noted a recent study which reveals the possibility that the ASF virus could still survive even the highest temperature during processing.

Though there is no recorded proof of human transmission, the ASF virus present in processed pork or pork-based products may pose a threat to live pigs.

“In this case we are banning this product primarily because of food security. Mabilis kasing mag-spread itong African Swine Flu (spreads easily) and it affects live stocks,” Domingo said.

The FDA has rolled out an investigation as to how the pork products were able to enter the country despite the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s import ban that started in August 2018.

Domingo added that since the import ban took effect, the issuance of import permit was also put on hold thus the entry of such items was definitely questionable.

Wala naman kasi na ibinibigay na certificate of product registration ang DA since late last year so hindi na dapat iyan naipapasok sa Pilipinas,” he explained.

(The DA no longer issues certificates of product registration since last year so those items shouldn’t have entered the Philippines.)

African Swine Fever (ASF) cases were first reported in Africa and several European countries.

The outbreak of the virus also killed millions of pigs in China last year.

Just this year, the virus further spread to its neighboring countries Mongolia, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Based on record from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the ASF virus has already killed about 2.6 million pigs in the mentioned countries.

“Ipinakikiusap namin sa mga nagtitinda na mismo kung meron silang mga produkto na mga meat products na de lata na nanggaling doon sa mga bansa na binanggit natin, sana i-recall na nila,” Domingo appeals to traders.

(We are calling all traders to have the initiative to recall the meat products and canned goods themselves particularly those which came from the ASF-affected countries.)

“Sila na mismo itago na nila. Huwag na nilang ibenta at i-report nila sa amin para ma-trace natin kung saan nanggaling at make sure lang na hindi na po ito kumalat,” he added.

(Have the initiative to pull them out of the store shelves. Do not sell them anymore and report to us so we may be able to trace their origin and also to make sure we prevent the spread of the virus.)

At present, the DA’s Bureau of Quarantine has foot baths in place at international airports across the country for passengers coming from ASF-affected countries.

These will caution passengers of the preventive measures the government is taking to prevent the spread of the deadly pig virus.

“Posibleng hindi nakarating sa kanila. Posibleng hindi nila nabasa. But upon arriving at the airport of entry, sinabihan ka ng Quarantine (officer) na hindi pwede, magpupumilit ka ba? At ang gagamitin mong dahilan ay hindi mo alam? Hindi pwdeng ganun,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said.

(It may not have reached their knowledge or possibly have not read about the ban, but upon arriving at the airport and the quarantine officer tells you that those items are banned, would you still insist? Would you still reason out that you didn’t know about it? It doesn’t work that way.)

The agency will request for additional K9 units as well as the installation of x-ray machines to screen passengers’ baggage.

Confiscated banned products will be destroyed or burned, according to DA. – (with details from Rey Pelayo)

BAI sees drop in cases of African Swine Fever

Marje Pelayo   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported a total of 176 cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country in the past month.

The number is lower than the 1,773 cases recorded in August 2020 at the beginning of the outbreak and in April 2021 when the agency logged 520 cases.

As of June 4, there are nine provinces with a total of 19 barangays that still have cases of ASF virus.

These are:
Leyte – 9
Ilocos Norte – 2
Northern Samar – 2
Abra – 1
Apayao – 1
Mountain Province – 1
Cagayan – 1
Eastern Samar – 1
Davao Occidental – 1

“Mahigit 300 (local government unit) na po yung walang reported cases ng ASF for a period ranging from 90 to 180 days ang more,” said Dr. Reildrin Morales, OIC, BAI.

BAI said that areas cleared of ASF may now start repopulating their hogs provided that they coordinate with their local veterinary office or they can visit directly to BAI offices.

Currently, there are 10 farms in Luzon that conducts clinical trial for a potential vaccines against ASF.

“Kung magiging maganda po yung performance nung tina-trial nating bakuna ang isa po sa direksyon natin ay mag mass vaccination tayo lalo na doon sa high risk areas,” Morales said.

As per BAI report, half the number of affected hog raisers have already been compensated which reached a total of P1.55 billion.

BAI projects that it will take about two to three years before the Philippines can finally take control of ASF, especially with the help of local government units.

By declaring a state of calamity due to ASF, the LGUs may now utilize their respective calamity fund for their response efforts against ASF. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Thailand’s Pattaya plans to reopen to tourists, no quarantine requirements

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — One of Thailand’s favorite vacation hotspots is planning to reopen to tourists in the last quarter of the year, without requiring visitors to undergo mandatory quarantine.

In a Facebook post by the National News Bureau of Thailand, Pattaya Mayor Sontaya Kunplome said the decision is part of the “Pattaya, Move on” project

It is also working on having more COVID-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate at least 70% of local residents.

The mayor said foreign tourists who have received two vaccine doses will be allowed to enter Pattaya without the need to quarantine for 14 days.

However, they must stay in Bang Lamung and Sattahip districts for seven days before traveling elsewhere in the province.

He added that only tourists from countries considered low risk of COVID-19 infection declared by the Public Health Ministry will be allowed.

They must receive vaccines and endorsed by their countries by no longer than one year before travel to Pattaya.

The mayor said the project will be implemented under standard operating procedures for international arrivals which include COVID-19 testing and guidelines for sealed routes.

Proposals for the reopening of the province to tourists will be presented to the Public Health Ministry and then endorsed next month to Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration for approval.

DA receives additional 1,591 dairy goats from Australia

Marje Pelayo   •   May 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) received an additional 1,591 heads of dairy goats from Australia as part of the Department of Agriculture-National Dairy Authority (DA-NDA) Intensified Community-Based Dairy Enterprise Development.

The additional animals, which arrived in the country on May 18 at the Clark International Airport, Pampanga, are currently quarantined at JJK Farm, Magalang Pampanga.

They will be distributed to farmer recipients in Luzon who passed the technical evaluation conducted by the DA-NDA.

These goats are in addition to the 1,294 imported dairy goats that arrived at General Santos International Airport, General Santos City, last April 5, 2021, which are intended to be distributed to farmer recipients in Mindanao and Visayas.

DA-NDA’s animal importation project aims to build up herd numbers, enhance local milk production, and increase the average family income of dairy farmers.

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