‘Clear, present danger’ forces total pork ban

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia (File photo)

ALTHOUGH there is no case of the African swine fever (ASF) in Cebu yet, the Provincial Government is banning the entry of live hogs and pork-related products from Luzon.

The move came after the Department of Agriculture confirmed an ASF outbreak in seven areas in Bulacan and Rizal provinces in Luzon.

“We’re instituting very strict measures because there is a clear and present danger,” said Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019.

The governor issued Executive Order (EO) 16, which amends earlier EOs, to implement a total ban on the entry of live hogs, pork, pork-related products, byproducts and boar semen from Luzon into Cebu for a period of 100 days.

Garcia issued EO 14 last Aug. 22 prohibiting the entry of pork, pork-related products and byproducts into Cebu province without permits or certificates for 100 calendar days. EO 14 also regulates the entry of live hogs through all ports in the province for 100 days as well.

Among the main points of the new EO is the total ban on the entry of live hogs, pork-related products and byproducts from Luzon. This includes canned, cured, processed and frozen pork meat products such as chorizo, tocino, bacon and luncheon meat, among others.

Pork and pork-related food products sourced from other areas in the country, on the other hand, will be regulated unless these are accompanied by the necessary requirements from the point of origin.

Meanwhile, San Miguel firms Purefoods and Monterey said in a statement that their products are safe to consume. “In light of recent news that several provinces have started issuing total bans on the entry of live and processed pork products from various parts in Luzon, San Miguel Foods assures the government and the public that its products are absolutely safe to eat and not affected by the African swine fever. These products should therefore be made available nationwide for consumers to continue to enjoy,” it said. (Related story: Meat processing firms unaffected)

Garcia said the Province’s ASF task force, with the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative, is intensifying disinfection activities in seaports and airports.

If the virus gets into Cebu, Garcia said, not only the hog industry but also the overall image of the province would be affected.

Since swill feeds are often sourced from hotels, resorts and restaurants, the governor said she will meet with trash haulers of these establishments to discuss how to properly dispose of leftovers.

Section 9 of EO 16 provides that the use of food scrap from establishments as swill feeds will be strictly prohibited for 100 days.

As of Sept. 17, only three out of over 100 members of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu Inc. submitted their inventory to the Province. These were Bai Hotel, Quest Hotel and Conference Center, and Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

As for moving cargoes of live hogs, those who fail to comply with the necessary documentary quarantine requirements shall be stopped and refused disembarkation at the port of entry.

Non-compliant moving cargo shall be shipped back immediately to its port of origin at the expense of the shipper of origin.

Although the disease is not harmful to humans, feeding hogs with swill or food scraps that may have been contaminated with the ASF virus could endanger the lives of pigs.

What experts feared was that the spread of ASF will kill the hog industry and affect food security since pork accounts for most of the Filipino’s meat consumption.


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