Pangilinan to DTI, DA: Identify processed meat brands with ASF
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan has urged both the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to identify processed meat products affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF).
According to Pangilinan, the government agencies mentioned should immediately remove these from the market to alleviate the fears of consumers.
“This will allay fears of the public on the spread of these products and on the possibility of consumption,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
Previously, it was reported by the Bureau of Animal Industries (BAI) that some meat products — hotdogs, longganisa, and tocino — from a Manila-based company tested positive for ASF. The brands of the meat products, however, were not revealed.
However, a group of meat processors also urged the BAI to release the name of the brand, to be fair with other brands that may be marketing high-quality meat products.
Pangilinan meanwhile said that this issue should be a learning point in strengthening border security to avoid such contaminated produce from slipping into the country.
“Let this incident of ASF-infected products slipping past our borders be a lesson to authorities to implement stricter checks of imported meat products. This is food. We should only eat safe and nourishing food),” Pangilinan explained.
DA last September admitted that ASF has hit the Philippines, although it maintained that locally-raised pork is safe for consumption. ASF has been confirmed in various areas of Bulacan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Rizal, Quezon City, and Nueva Ecija, with over 62,000 hogs dead from either degenerative effects of ASF, or by culling.
“Local efforts to stop the spread of the ASF such as culling of pigs would be futile if the ASF, in another form, would easily get in the country and land on our dinner table,” Pangilinan noted.
“A consolidated effort is needed to combat this disease. Together with the private sector, DA, DTI, Department of Health through the Food and Drug Administration, and the Bureau of Customs, should play their part in stopping this animal disease that is affecting our everyday food, our nutrition, and our health,” he added./ac
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