After receiving a report implicating a leading supermarket in the city selling processed food containing pork meat from Luzon, the Northern Mindanao African Swine Fever (ASF) Task Force conducted joint inspection, Tuesday, May 5, 2020.
The team is composed of the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 10’s (DA-RFO 10) Regulatory Division, Bureau of Animal Industry – Veterinary Quarantine Services (DA-BAI-VQS) and the City Veterinary Office of Cagayan de Oro.
During the inspection, packages of “pork-based special quikiam” manufactured by food company based in Cavite were found on display in the supermarket’s chiller, warranting appropriate action by the ASF Task Force.
As part of the government’s effort to curb ASF infestation, pork products from ASF-affected areas are banned in the entire Northern Mindanao (NorMin).
“Based on Executive Order No. 172 goods containing pork coming from ASF-infected areas (domestic or international) will be confiscated and disposed of properly. Right now, we will seal these products pending documents showing their delivery details,” Dr. Lucien Anthony P. Acac, Cagayan de Oro City OIC-Veterinarian said.
The food items will be confiscated and buried if they are found delivered after the EO was enforced, on and after September 27, 2019.
“What we are doing is part of the mandate of the ASF Task Force. We are doing this to ensure the food consumed by the buying public is safe, clean and good,” Dr. Acac added, saying his office will remain operational despite COVID-19 quarantine.
To date, CdeO City Veterinary Office has reported a total of six apprehensions as violation to EO 172. All cases involved mischievous movement of pork products from Luzon, Davao and General Santos cities.
ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of hogs. The disease has no known cure and is rapidly spreading across many countries, Philippines included.
To protect the local hog industry in NorMin, DA-10 is actively working with the local government units (LGUs) and other line agencies in the region to prevent the entry of the disease.
Following cases of confirmed ASF-caused swine deaths in some areas in Mindanao, DA recently issued Memorandum Circular No. 3 series of 2020 ordering all concerned agencies and bureaus, most especially BAI, to implement stricter anti-ASF measures in Mindanao.
DA is pushing for the implementation of 24/7 animal quarantine checkpoints equipped with disinfection facilities, mandatory inspection of docking vessels in Mindanao ports, close coordination with the LGUs to establish and maintain checkpoints to inspect passengers coming from ASF-affected areas, and ultimately, confiscation and destruction of all pork products from ASF-affected zones and countries.While the COVID-19 pandemic is continuously ravaging the country’s economy now, the effort to protect the P25 billion hog industry in NorMin from ASF is imperative.