The outbreak of African swine fever in the Philippines was caused by smuggled pork from China
, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said Monday.
READ: PAMPI asks Agriculture to trace ASF outbreak
In a press briefing, Dar said illegal shipments seized by authorities at the Port of Manila in October were a clear indication that the virus originated from China.
The pork, declared as tomato paste, later tested positive for ASF.
Dar said the infected pork was likely dumped in Rodriguez, Rizal, where hog raisers fed it to their pigs.
On Monday, Agriculture officials said samples of skinless longganisa and Pignic hotdog from Pampanga-based Mekeni Food Corp. tested positive for ASF.
Ronnie Domingo, DA’s Bureau of Animal Industry officer in charge, said results of the Oct. 25 tests showed the samples of Mekeni’s two pork-based products seized at the Pork of Calapan and from its processing plant were ASF-positive.
“We still do not know the source of the meat,” he said. “That would be part of the investigation.”
“With these developments, the DA and Department of Health through the Food and Drug Administration have agreed to disclose jointly said test results, and name the manufacturer, which is Mekeni Food Corp.,” the DA statement read.
Mekeni, which has pulled its products from the market since Oct. 26, promised to establish the source of the ASF virus found in samples of its products.
Mekeni said operations in its pork processing area have been suspended since Oct. 26, and that the facility was being cleansed and disinfected.
“A third-party company had also been engaged to do swabbing and testing of the facility before we resume operations,” it said in its statement.
Mekeni said it will also continue to work with the Bureau of Animal Industry, National Meat Inspection Service, and the Food and Drug Administration, as well as other industry stakeholders for the implementation of a more comprehensive plan to mitigate the spread of the ASF.
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