The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. urged its members to refrain from making deliveries to customers who may want to bring processed meat products to Cebu and Bohol to avoid being blamed in case the African swine fever breaks out in the two island provinces.
The two provinces are highly susceptible to ASF due to the large number of daily arrivals of local and foreign visitors from ASF-infected areas in Luzon, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and South Korea.
There are daily flights to Cebu from Clark in Pampanga as well as international flights from China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Vietnam.
Travelers have been identified by the World Organization for Animal Health and by the Bureau of Animal Industry as among the major carriers of the ASF virus. To ensure no-risk status, travelers need to undergo quarantine disinfection procedures when they enter the airport or seaport in the two provinces.
Aside from travelers, also listed by animal disease experts as potential carriers of the ASF virus are infected animals, swill feeds, ticks and flies as well as contaminated vehicles, equipment and clothes.
Processed meat products are not among the listed carriers. Both OIE and BAI have confirmed that processed meats when cooked at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes cannot spread the ASF virus because if it is present, it is killed at such temperature.
A leader of the House of Representatives, meanwhile, said Wednesday the swine industry has sustained at least P1 billion in losses since the ASF was found in the country.
The spread of ASF has prompted several local governments to stop the shipment of pork products from other provinces to their localities to contain the spread of the disease.
House Deputy Speaker Conrado Estrella called for the continuation of a moratorium on the transport of pork products.
Estrella, representative of the agriculture-based ABONO Party-list, said the inter-provincial transport of pork products may be resumed as soon as the threat has been eliminated.
“I think it is now time for government to impose a moratorium, on pork product importation until we have completely cleared our pig farms of the ASF threat. We have to stop the bleeding before its too late,” Estrella said.