High-end stores yield banned pork goods

PROHIBITED. Dr. May Ann Gabona, head of the enforcement group of the African swine fever task force, shows pork products removed from shelves and freezers of grocery stores in Cebu. (Capitol PIO Photo)

SACKS of various processed pork products were seized by the Cebu Provincial Government’s African swine fever (ASF) Task Force from five supermarkets and malls in the province on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 10 and 11, 2019.

The seized products, which include canned goods, embutido, tocino and other cold cuts, were worth P103,557.

Most of the food items came from Luzon.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s Executive Order 16, which orders a total ban on the entry of live hogs, pork, pork-related products, byproducts and boar semen from Luzon into Cebu, remains in effect.

On Friday, Oct. 11, Dr. Mary Rose Vincoy, head of the Provincial Veterinary Office, presented the boxes and sacks containing canned goods and other pork products.

Other products seized were lumpia, ready-to-steam siopao, hotdog, luncheon meat, tocino from Pampanga, siomai and chicharon (pork rind) from Bulacan, provinces that are affected by ASF.

The food items were confiscated from two high-end grocery stores in Mandaue City and Cebu City, a grocery store in Barangays Guadalupe and Lahug in Cebu City and a grocery store in Cordova town.

Vincoy said the products they are after are those from Luzon that were manufactured beginning January 2019.

Vincoy said the embutido made in Bulacan was already expired and was labeled “Longganisa de Cebu.”

Some of the products had expiry dates but did not come with a label stating where they were manufactured, which for Vincoy was suspicious.

“There are other violations. For example, some products have no manufacturing dates but have expiry dates. When we asked for papers, they could not show us any,” said Vincoy.

She said that during their operation, the management of the grocery stores claimed that they overlooked the products and missed seeing them on the shelves.

The Task Force is now assessing what complaints it can file and penalties it can impose on the erring establishments.

The seized items will be disposed of through thermal destruction on Monday, Oct. 14. (from ANV of Superbalita Cebu/LRC)


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