Consumers, pork traders uneasy amid ASF scare

Some uneasiness has been raised by a consumer advocacy group and the Department of Health following reports that blood samples from pigs that died in Rizal have tested positive for African Swine Fever or ASF.

Consumers, pork traders uneasy amid ASF scare
DISTRESSING SCENE. With the reported death of some pigs due to the suspected deadly African Swine Fever in Rizal, meat vendors in some areas in Quezon City are complaining that their profit from pork products has been affected by the disease. Manny Palmero
The advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. on Tuesday said the reports might cause pork prices to drop amid fears arising from the disease.

In a related development, the Department of Health advised the public to cook pork thoroughly to avoid getting sick, amid confirmation the ASF had reached Philippine shores.

READ: Dreaded virus zaps pigs

While the Department of Agriculture earlier confirmed the presence of ASF in hogs in some parts of the country, the DOH noted that ASF was not a risk to human health.

“We want to allay the fears of the public by saying that, as long as pork is bought from reliable sources and it is cooked thoroughly, pork is safe to eat,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III  said in a statement.

According to the World Organization for Animal Health or Office International des Epizooties, ASF is a severe and highly contagious viral disease among domestic and wild pigs.

Amid the ASF scare, Senator Imee Marcos called on authorities to be vigilant against the smuggling of pork.

Marcos called on all concerned government agencies to guarantee the safety of the public on top of ensuring there was enough supply of pork in the local market. 

The neophyte senator issued the statement after Agriculture Secretary William Dar announced that 14 out of the 20 blood samples of pigs from Rodriguez Rizal, Guiguinto, Bulacan and Antipolo city were found positive for ASF.

Because of this, she told the Philippine Ports Authority and the Bureau of Customs to strictly monitor and watch all ports of entry in the country to make sure that smuggled meat products possibly contaminated with ASF cannot enter the country.

She also alerted the Department of Agriculture and DTI  to ensure there was enough supply of pork and no spike in the price of pork due to the ASF scare.

She also asked the PNP, Bureau of Quarantine and National Meat Inspection to guard pork coming from backyard piggery.

She said it is important to be sure that meat products that are being prepared by Filipinos during Christmas are free from ASF. 

Dar said  7,416 pigs from Antipolo, Rodriguez, Rizal and Guiguinto, Bulacan were culled the past months. 

READ: Bulacan hogs culled amid swine flu signs

READ: Ilocos bans pigs, pork, by-products

READ: Don’t worry despite swine fever—Dar

Topics: Department of Health , African Swine Fever , Laban Konsyumer Inc. , Department of Agriculture
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