‘Balikbayan’ boxes to be searched for swine fever-tainted meat
Do not bring in any meat products from overseas, even from countries free from African swine fever (ASF), warned Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) official Dr. Renaldo Quilang, who said the Department of Agriculture (DA) instruction was meant to avoid ASF contamination of the local swine industry.
Even balikbayan (BB) boxes will be held and searched for pork products coming from countries where there is an ASF outbreak, said Quilang, chief of the BAI’s National Veterinary Quarantine Service Division based at Ninoy Aquino International complex.
Fresh, frozen, cooked and uncooked processed pork products and byproducts from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, North Korea, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa and Zambia are strictly prohibited from entering the country, Quilang said.
The DA has deployed an initial 15 meat-sniffing dogs to help detect meat products from passengers’ luggage so that these may be inspected.
On June 4, balikbayan boxes containing canned meat brought by overseas Filipino workers from Hong Kong were held at Clark International Airport.
Quilang said there is no vaccine against ASF and its outbreak would be devastating for piggeries and the farming economy.
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