DA bans entry of pork, pork-based products from 13 countries
MANILA — Due to the threat of a baffling hog disease that has killed millions of pigs all over the world and whose effect on human health is still unknown, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has banned the import of pork and pork-based products from 13 countries.
The DA has imposed strict quarantine protocols to prevent the entry of pork and pork-based products from Belgium, China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, and Zambia.
“The world hog industry is faced with a threat by a disease called the African Swine Fever (ASF). The threat is real and it could affect an industry which benefits millions of families, mostly small backyard farmers, who raise 15 million heads of hogs every year,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said in a Facebook post Friday.
Given the fact that these countries are inter-connected in one big land mass which forms part of Europe and Asia, Piñol said there is simply no way to ensure that other countries will not be affected as well.
The Philippines stands out as one of the few countries in the world that is free from animal diseases, such as the Foot and Mouth Disease.
The entry of any disease into the country, especially the ASF, whose effect on human health is still being studied, could devastate the country’s hog industry.
As such, the DA chief has ordered the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and other DA concerned agencies to implement mitigating measures, such as the establishment of foot baths in all entry points of the country, including cruise ships; mandatory inspection of vessels docking Philippine ports; and confiscation and destruction of all pork products within 24 hours coming from ASF-affected countries.
Returning residents and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), especially from countries affected by the ASF, have been advised not to bring in pork or pork-based products, including ham, bacon and others.
They have also been asked to serve as “Volunteer Quarantine Officers” and check if other passengers on board their flight or vessels are carrying pork or pork-based products and report this to the Government Quarantine Officers upon arrival in the Philippines.
In 2017, the country imported a total of 4,177,189 kg. of pork and pork products.
For 2018, some 9,744,435 kg. from Belgium, and 69,010 kg. from Hungary were recorded to have entered the country. (PNA)