On Thursday, the Department of Health (DOH) assured people who have already eaten the reported processed meat products that were positive of African swine fever (ASF) virus have nothing to worry about.
Yesterday, Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported that sample meat from branded hotdog, longganisa, and tocino were positive for ASF.
“There is no threat to human health when products positive for ASF is eaten,” said Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo, who is also a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officer in charge.
He told the public to stay calm because eating these particular products are completely safe for consumption.
However, Domingo said he had not seen a copy of the BAI report. He even added that the sample three meats were probably just tainted from the pigs that already have the epidemic.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is standing by for the order to lift the ban on transporting and sale of processed meat products from Luzon.
ASF ban in provinces
As of Oct. 16, BAI reported that 62,223 hogs had been culled in Bulacan (28,008), Pampanga (21,028), Rizal (8,041), Pangasinan (170) and Nueva Ecija (22), and in some cities in Metro Manila.
Local government units (LGUs) and other industry groups have renewed their appeal to the DILG to not lift the ban yet after stating BAI’s current report regarding processed meat products from Mindoro two weeks ago.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said on Thursday that the restriction on trading pork products remains.
He said he supports the prohibition of consumption of certain brands that were reported positive for ASF, as the provinces only secure their livestock.
He emphasized, however, that the LGUs of Cebu, Bohol, and Negros Oriental should be accountable for the complaints of their constituents.
“On areas where LGUs would continue to impose the ban, they would answer for it if there are complaints from their constituents.”
Loss in sales of affected business firms
On the other hand, companies should comply with the requirements and conditions first before they could transport processed pork products.
“The guidelines on processed meat products … shall remain. We will be stricter on checkpoints and quarantine operations to ensure that all requirements and conditions are met in terms of the movement, transport and sale of processed meat products,” Año said.
The Philippine Association of Meat Processors. Inc (PAMPI), meanwhile, said the ban in certain provinces in Visayas and Mindanao has made them lost P50 billion in sales.
The firm feels skeptical about the BAI’s report, so the DOH wants to have a better communication with the latter.
This is to better inform the public that processed pork products have no threat to human health.
Domingo also stated that the DOH and FDA have the guidelines in ensuring the safety of the food products, so people should not worry as long as the DOH said so.
“As long as the products have CPRs (certificates of product registration), these are safe for human consumption. As long as the products are registered, we’ve checked the factories and proper hygiene practices are observed in manufacturing the products, there’s nothing to fear, no reason to worry about getting sick if we consume them,” he said.