The Food and Drug Administration has ordered a recall of all pork-based products manufactured in countries affected by the African Swine Fever virus.
The 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.
The World Organization for Animal Health said African swine fever is “a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs.”
While humans cannot get ASF, it can have serious economic effects if it spreads among livestock. The Philippines is currently free of African swine flu.
The Agricuture Department and local hog raisers have also asked the FDA to stop the issuance of import clearances and order the immediate pullout from the market of processed pork products from these countries.
An incident involving a returning Filipino worker who was intercepted while bringing in cans of “Ma Ling” pork luncheon meat brought to the attention of the DA that while a ban and cut off date for the entry of processed pork products from China was issued last year, the FDA continued issuing permits to allow importers to bring in the banned products.
In an emergency meeting attended by officials of the Bureau of Customs at the Agriculture secretary’s office Tuesday, the hog raisers also asked for the immediate creation of an Inter-Agency Task Force to handle the ASF threat to the country’s P200-billion hog industry.
Earlier, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries recommended the declaration of a state of emergency to protect the country’s hog industry.
ASF is a deadly disease that affects hogs. There is no vaccine or cure for it, and it can wipe out the hog population of a country.
China and Vietnam, two of the countries worst hit by ASF, have already eliminated millions of hogs infected by the disease with China losing about 30 percent of its swine population.
Concerned groups during the meeting requested an emergency meeting with the new director general of the FDA to address the seeming lack of coordination and synchronization of government efforts to address the ASF problem.
They also asked FDA to request the Trade department to implement an immediate recall from the market of all processed and canned pork since these are among the items included in the ban issued by the Agriculture Department in August 2018.
The group also enjoined the Bureau of Animal Industry to monitor and inspect animal feed stores to check the presence of a dog and cat food using hog-based meat and bone meal processed from ASF-affected countries.