There will be enough supply of chicken in the market, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Secretary William Dar said “the supply of chicken will last until the end of 2021,” adding “As far as the vegetables are concerned, we have plenty of them.
The storms in November had affected our harvest. We are now recovering. We have enough supplies.”
At the same time, the Department of Agriculture said it was prohibiting the display or sale of frozen products in public markets without properly-equipped refrigeration facilities as it strives to improve the safe selling of meat, both frozen and fresh.
“The improper storage and thawing of frozen meat products, particularly in open public markets, presents a significant risk in the safety of meat products for sale,” it said in a statement.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier imposed a 60-day freeze in the prices of pork and chicken in the National Capital Region to monitor their exorbitant prices in markets.
The local producers, for their part, hit the government’s price cap, saying the prices were impossible to meet.
Meanwhile, Dar said the resolution recommending the increase of the minimum access volume (MAV) Plus in the quantity of pork that might be imported at lower tariffs now only needs the signature of the President.
“Last (Monday) night, we submitted to Malacanang the resolution by the MAV Management Council, recommending the increase in the MAV for pork for MAV year 2021 and is now awaiting the President’s signature,” he said.
The DA’s statement came with a warning to the general public not to buy frozen meat products if these are not stored in chillers or freezers.
It also clarified Dar did not say that frozen pork was better than freshly slaughtered pork.
“The DA recommended the setting up of price ceilings on pork and dressed chicken upon consultations with swine industry players, consumers' groups, and local government units,” it noted.
Agricultural group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) earlier expressed dismay over the unsanitary dumping of frozen meat in public wet markets.
"This is not only illegal but poses food safety risks and public health concerns while the country is still reeling from the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic," it said.
The DA noted that the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) ensures that meats for sale in public wet markets are handled safely.
"DA Administrative Order No. 6 Series of 2012 stipulates the rules and regulations on hygienic handling of chilled, frozen, and thawed meat in public and private markets — prohibits the display or sale of frozen products in public markets without properly- equipped refrigeration facilities," it said.
"The DA, therefore, warns the general public not to buy frozen meat products if these are not stored in chillers or freezers," it added.