AMID confirmed cases of African Swine Fever in the Cordillera, food safety and cleanliness during butchering of pigs must be fully observed, according to the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) in the region.
Lilia Juliana Fermin, NMIS-CAR director, explained slaughter house facilities are provided with equipment that are needed for the sanitation and hygiene that is required for the food safety program.
However, she added most of local government units do not have the facility, adding the NMIS encourages them not to slaughter the animal on the floor so that there is no contact to other microorganisms.
“We are convincing local chief executives to prioritize meat inspection and make a part of their regulation to be concerned on food hygiene and sanitation not only those meat produced in their jurisdiction but also meat that are imported,” she added.
Although ASF does not affect humans, Fermin appealed to meat consumers to buy pork in reputable resources and for buyers to look for seal of NMIS conspicuously displayed.
Cameron Odsey, Department of Agriculture (DA–CAR) regional executive director also encouraged stakeholders to avoid buying hogs online and consult municipal agriculturist office on where to purchase pigs.
Odsey also assured animals in the Cordillera are safe to eat as long as it doesn’t show symptoms of any disease.
ASF-positive cases were recorded in Itogon, La Trinidad, Tuba in Benguet, and Tanudan and Tabuk City in Kalinga Province.
As February 19, data provided by the Provincial Veterinarian of Benguet revealed 532 pigs were depopulated and 37 hog raisers were affected.
Two of the confirmed ASF cases were hogs coming from the lowlands that were introduced to the province.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Government of Benguet have temporarily lifted the lockdown on the entry of live pigs.