The country’s largest group of meat processors assured consumers that locally-processed meat products such as canned meat and hotdogs do not contain meat materials from countries infected by the African Swine Fever.
The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. issued the statement on the heels of a nationwide campaign of the Food and Drug Administration to recall processed meat products purportedly imported from ASF-infected countries.
The Bureau of Customs, for its part, said it is closely monitoring the country’s borders to prevent the entry of banned meat products.
Only importers with proper clearances and permits from the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Industry, and FDA, among others, will be allowed to bring in meat products into the county, the BOC said.
ASF is a fatal animal disease affecting pigs and wild boars with up to 100-percent mortality, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Countries affected by the disease include China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and North Korea.
PAMPI president Felix Tiukinhoy said most of the ASF-infected countries do not export meat products to the Philippines.
Tiukinhoy urged the FDA to be cautious and specific in its pronouncements as vague statements could lead to confusion and uncertainty among consumers.
Recall orders, he said, should be product specific as he asked the FDA to identify the brands and countries of origin instead of issuing general statements that are prejudicial to local manufacturers.
He said locally produced meat products are displayed in supermarkets and groceries along with imported products which could lead to confusion among consumers.
Tiukinhoy said PAMPI members plan to work out a system with supermarket operators to institutionalize the segregation of local processed meats from imported items.
The local meat processing industry produces more than P300 billion in sales annually and provides direct employment to 150,000 people.
The FDA recall includes canned goods like luncheon meat and processed pork—such as Ma Ling from China—with a manufacturing date from August 2018 or later.
The FDA has also expanded its list of countries temporarily banned from exporting pork products to the Philippines due to ASF among their livestock.
A new FDA advisory now bans the importation of pork from Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, and Belgium.
The move expands the Department of Agriculture memorandum order in September that banned imported pork products from China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.