Transport of ‘lechon’, cooked pork out of Carcar okay despite ASF
CEBU CITY — Despite the presence of African swine fever (ASF) among the hog population in Carcar City, cooked pork products, including Cebu’s popular roasted pig (“lechon”) and “chicharon” (fried pork cracklings) can now be brought out of the locality.
According to Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, ASF is not harmful to humans, noting that the virus causing ASF will not survive if meat is cooked for at least 30 minutes at a temperature of over 70 degrees Celsius.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), she said, allows the transport of cooked pork so there is no reason to prevent sale of lechon out of Carcar City.
READ: Cebu detects first ASF infection in lechon-famous Carcar City
Lechon coming from Carcar City is safe for human consumption, Garcia assured the public.“May I repeat this to all Cebuanos, you can eat it (lechon),” Garcia told reporters on Wednesday.
Garcia said the provincial government was planning to buy vaccines for Classical Swine Cholera (CSC) as the infection in Carcar City might not be ASF, but CSC or hog fever.
“I will be meeting with the mayors so that, among others, there will be a logical, well-studied and well-analyzed direction in dealing with [the problem]. For me right now, I really question whether this is really ASF but if it is cholera, it will also cause death [of pigs],” she said.
“We are the first local government unit to speak out here in the hope that other provinces that have been declared ASF-infected will now start studying [their situations] also,” she added.
Garcia recently suspended the culling of pigs in Carcar City, located 40 kilometers south of Cebu City.
The governor said Cebu province would come up with its own procedures in determining ASF infection contrary to the policies imposed by the DA.
READ: Lechon, chicharon sales in Carcar affected due to ASF scare
Garcia earlier expressed doubts as to whether there was really ASF infestation in Carcar City and the accuracy of the test conducted on carcasses at a slaughterhouse.
Cebu had been ASF-free for the past three years until the detection of infected hogs in Carcar City on March 1.
Carcar City is among the areas in Cebu where the famous lechon is a favorite delicacy along with chicharon.
At least 141 pigs had been culled in Carcar since the laboratory confirmation of ASF cases last week. The pigs’ slaughter was ordered by the DA.
Since the detection of the first ASF case in the Philippines in 2019, the national government has implemented culling of all livestock, regardless of health status, within a 1-km radius of the infected farm to contain the highly contagious animal disease.
READ: Lechon from Carcar is safe for human consumption
But Garcia disagreed that the measure be implemented in Carcar’s case. In fact, she expressed doubts about how the laboratory tests that confirmed the presence of the virus causing ASF were conducted.
Cebu is one of the biggest pork producers in the country with the province’s pork industry valued at P11 billion.
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