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Zambo City bans China pork products amid swine fever fears

/ 05:14 AM June 16, 2019

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines — All China-sourced canned pork products are now banned in this city, particularly those brought in through the barter trade route.

“All MaLing pork products coming from China are banned, including the Great Wall [brand]. Other canned pork meat from China and 16 other countries with African swine fever (ASF) are also banned,” said city veterinarian Dr. Mario Arriola.

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Supermarkets, groceries and convenience stores must pull out these products from their shelves and destroy or turn them over to the Food and Drug Administration, Arriola said, adding that consumers who have bought the pork products must do the same.

Though MaLing products are usually shipped to this city via barter trading and should only be sold in designated barter trade centers, the canned goods have found their way to big supermarkets and groceries.

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Arriola said it would be best to surrender the food products to proper authorities for disposal.

“It’s not safe to dispose of these canned items just anywhere. They may be eaten by dogs or stray animals and may affect our swine industry,” he said.

Mark Basaluddin, chief executive officer of Canelar Trading Center, however, said on Friday that some 30,000 boxes of MaLing have already reached Zamboanga and were about to be unloaded from ships for distribution to the local market.

Sought after brand

“It is one of the most sought after luncheon meat [brand],” he said, adding that banning the product may not affect the market at all. “We cannot stop traders” from selling the product, Basaluddin said.

Information Officer Sheila Covarrubias said the City Veterinary Office would continue to intensify its campaign for quality meat products in the local market and would prohibit the sale of products from ASF-affected countries, including China, Vietnam, North Korea and Hong Kong.

Though ASF does not affect humans, it affects the swine industry as “it is a highly devastating and contagious hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs of all ages,” Arriola said, adding, however, that “there is no ASF yet in the Philippines.”

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The disease is characterized by high fever, loss of appetite and hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs of pigs. Mortality can be as high as 100 percent.

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TAGS: African swine fever, China pork products, MaLing
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