Processed meat industry begs for help amid ASF scare: We are suffering | Inquirer News
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Processed meat industry begs for help amid ASF scare: We are suffering

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 07:21 PM October 02, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The processed meat industry has appealed to the government to help “communicate” to the public that its products were safe for human consumption amid an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF), which does no harm to humans but is deadly for pigs.

Speaking at the House agriculture and food committee on Wednesday, Oct. 2, Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) spokesperson Rex Agarrado said the processed meat industry is “suffering” as sales are “coming down” and its products are being blocked in some areas in the country.

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He asked the government for help in disseminating information that the ASF “does not affect humans.”

“We beg this body to communicate. People are now scared, sales of pork is coming down, sales of processed meats are coming down. Please help us because the industry is suffering,” Agarrado said. 

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PAMPI president Felix Tiukinhoy said fully cooked and smoked processed meat is subjected to heat of 121 degree Celsius which would “kill and destroy harmful materials and viruses, including the ASF virus.”

“These are perfectly safe for human consumption,” Tiukinhoy said.

At the same hearing, a meat importers’ group insisted that ASF contamination could not have come from legally imported pork.

Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA) president Jesus Cham said the virus could have come only from “smuggled, illegal, undocumented entry of foreign pork.”

He said legally imported meat are inspected carefully “both ante mortem and post mortem” meaning before and after slaughter of animals.

“The legal imports cannot and will never be a source of ASF,” Cham said.

Last September 9, the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed the first known cases of ASF in pigs from Rizal province. Since then, ASF cases had been reported in Quezon City, Pangasinan, Bulacan and Pangasinan provinces.

Provinces and cities outside Luzon had imposed a ban on the entry of pork and pork products from the main island./TSB

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