ASF scare leads to 20% cut in ham production

A large group of meat processors will cut its ham production by 15 percent to 20 percent due to a ban on meat from Luzon imposed by Cebu and Bohol amid fears that African swine fever (ASF) would spread there.

READ: PAMPI assures consumers of safe processed meat products

At a news conference in Quezon City, Jerome Ong, vice president of the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi), said they would lose almost P1 billion in such a scenario and would have to stop the seasonal hiring of workers.

“It would be hard for us to produce the same number of hams as [we did] last year when we cannot distribute [the products] in some provinces,” he said.

Rey Agarrado, Pampi spokesman, said one of the association’s 83 members “will no longer produce hams for the Christmas season.”

“Expect fewer Christmas hams in the supermarkets,” he told reporters.

He appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to step into the matter.

In a statement, Pampi president Felix Tiukinhoy Jr. assured the public that their processed meat and meat products are free from ASF.

Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said consumers should look for meat inspection certificates to ensure that meat being sold has gone through a thorough examination by meat inspectors.

READ: QC set to cal ASF-infected pigs

Consumers must also look for the stamp from slaughterhouses as proof that meat slaughtered is healthy and fit for human consumption.

She urged the public to report pork outlets selling meat without meat inspection certificates and proof from slaughterhouses to the city’s veterinary office at 988-4242 local 8036 for immediate confiscation and disposal.

Dr. Anamarie Cabel, city veterinary chief, said all of the city’s major markets and slaughterhouses have 24-hour checkpoints to ensure that meat being sold and slaughtered is safe.

She said meat inspectors are also assigned in different markets and slaughterhouses to conduct inspections.

READ: DA, DTI rule out ban on raw pork

Topics: African swine fever , Ban on meat , Luzon , Jerome Ong , Philippine Association of Meat Processors , Rey Agarrado
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