The Department of the Interior and Local Government has directed all provincial and local officials to allow the entry of pre-heated and/or fully-cooked pork-based processed products instead of closing their doors on processed pork meat products, in a bid to head off an emerging pork crisis caused by the spread of African swine fever in the country.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año directed all provincial and local government units to strictly monitor and follow the guidelines on the movement, distribution and sale of processed meat products to ensure the safety of the local hogs industry in unaffected regions.
The ASF virus is easily eliminated once subjected to heat, and cooking processed meat can fully eradicate any presence of the virus, the DILG memo noted.
Año noted that the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. has been complying with the internationally accepted standards for canned meat products, which are cooked at 116 degrees Celsius for at least 60 minutes. Hotdogs are likewised processed or smoked to a core temperature of at least 72 degrees Celsius for over one hour.
PAMPI also said their companies’ Christmas hams and bacons are cooked at 72 degrees Celsius for more than an hour, and their smoked and cooked pork sausages are cooked at 72 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes “which make all these processed meats safe for public consumption,” Año noted.
The department issued the memorandum for public interest and to protect consumers, retailers, distributors, dry and cold storage operators, hog raisers, meat processors and manufacturers, and the other stakeholders from “any unwarranted disruption in the flow of trade and commerce across the country, and the country’s economy.
For the movement of imported meats, local government units can demand a certification from the Land Transportation Office and/or from the Food and Drug Administration, as was cited in the DILG memorandum.
Meat processors must be able to present a veterinary health certificate of the exporting country, a sanitary and phyto-sanitary permit, and an import permit from the Agriculture department, as well as and certification that the imported pork did not originate from ASF-free countries.
The guidelines required a pork producers to present a document issued by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) authorizing the movement or use for production of processed meats if local pork is used as an ingredient.
The same guidelines will also seek a certification from the NMIS citing the local origin of the pork meat used for processed meat products that do not undergo heat treatment of full cooking, such as tocino, fresh longganisa, tapa and other products.
However, the Iloilo provincial government is temporarily banning the entry of hogs and pork products from Luzon and other areas identified by the Department of Agriculture as positive for ASF contamination.
Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. has amended his provincial Executive Order 159, which imposed a temporary ban of hogs and pork products from Rizal and Bulacan provinces in Luzon.
The ban extends to countries that are positive for the disease like Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Luxembourg, Belgium, Bulgaria, Moldova, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, South Korea, and China.
The amendment has banned the entry of hogs and pork products not only from Rizal and Bulacan provinces but from “Luzon in the Philippines, including its island provinces,” countries positive from the disease and from other territories and localities as identified and declared by the DA.
The ban “shall remain in force for a period of 90 days,” the EO stated. The total ban has already been imposed in Aklan, Negros Occidental, and Bacolod City.
In Bacolod City, at least 27 kilos of pork asado and siopao from Luzon that arrived at the Bacolod-Silay Airport were seized and disposed of by personnel of the Negros Occidental Provincial African Swine Fever Task Force over the weekend.
Negros Occidental, the country’s number one backyard swine producer, has banned for 90 days, starting Sept. 11, the entry of pork and its by-products from Luzon, which has confirmed cases of ASF.
“These pork products from Luzon were intercepted by our inspectors assigned at the airport,” said Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena, co-chairman of the Provincial Task Force on ASF, on Sunday.
Task force personnel, including livestock inspectors of the Provincial Veterinary Office and employees of the Bureau of Animal Industry, along with airport staff, immediately burned the confiscated products, he said.
Decena said the 34 packs of pork asado siopao, which were shipped via cargo, were part of the 175 kilograms of various products sent to a food cart operator in the province.
The temporary ban on pork products from Luzon is one of the measures ordered by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson to protect the P6-billion swine industry of Negros Occidental.
The Iloilo provincial government is also temporarily banning the entry of hogs and pork products from Luzon and other areas identified by the Department of Agriculture as positive for ASF. With PNA