Marcos urges monitoring of smuggled pork amid ASF scare
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Imee Marcos urged the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday to monitor smuggled pork as cases of African swine fever (ASF) had been confirmed in the country.
Marcos said the PPA and BOC should monitor ports of entry to ensure that no smuggled meat products possibly contaminated by ASF could enter the country.
The senator also asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure that there would be enough supply of pork and that no price increases would be imposed, especially with the nearing Christmas season.
“It’s important to make sure that meat products that Filipinos are preparing for Christmas are not contaminated with ASF,” Marcos said in Filipino in a statement. “Authorities should be careful in monitoring live pigs and imported pork products, even if pork with the ASF virus has no direct effect on the health of people.”
Earlier in a press conference, Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier said 14 out of 20 blood samples from sick pigs that eventually died in piggeries tested positive for ASF.
“We received late last week the laboratory test results coming from the United Kingdom on this test called polymerase chain reaction test. And 20 blood samples have been sent. And out of the 20 blood samples, 14 are positive with African swine fever,” Dar said.
Dar then added that 7,416 hogs have been “depopulated,” most of which came from Rizal and Bulacan.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ASF is a “highly contagious” hemorrhagic disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar and American wild pigs.
In animals, the ASF virus causes fever, loss of appetite, hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs, and even death.
The FDA said the disease, though not considered a “human health threat,” had caused major economic loss in the swine industry.
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