The Pampanga-based meat processor, Mekeni Food Corp., will be recalling their pork-based products after a batch of its sausage, hotdogs, and tocino was found positive for the African swine fever (ASF) virus.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar agreed with the move, saying he welcomed the recall if this is a part of the solution.
“We are only here to implement regulations, and if the recall is part of solving the problem, then that’s a welcome development,” he said.
Mekeni said it will be taking the action ahead of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI)’s and an independent laboratory’s results of tests.
“This is to ensure that we mitigate the possibility that our products inadvertently become carriers of ASF,” the company said in a statement on Saturday.
According to an industry source, Mekeni provides 10% of the market for sausages and less than 5% for hotdogs.
Meanwhile, it also added as per the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Agriculture (DA) that consuming pork-based products that are positive for ASF have no harm to human health.
The industry source earlier told the Philippine Inquirer that the National Meat Inspection Service had suggested the recall.
Imported pork-based products
Dar also reported the two shipping containers from China, a country that was affected by ASF.
The bearers were apprehended earlier this week as there has been a misdeclaration happened. A cargo of pork, dumplings, Peking duck, minced vegetables, and other semi processed food were announced as tomato paste and vermicelli.
Dar said the shipment would be tested to find if the products were positive for ASF.
However, the shipment’s consignee, Binondo-based Jeniti International Trading, will still face charges from violating customs laws for misdeclaration and also the National Food Security Act for carrying products from an ASF-positive country to the Philippines.
The DA has banned the importation, distribution, and sale of processed products from countries affected by ASF since last year. The countries were China, Belgium, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Hungary, North Korea, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, and Germany.
However, Sen. Francis Pangilinan urged the DA and the Department of Trade and Industry to reveal the name of brands that were tainted with ASF. He said that these should be pulled out of the market as people should only be eating safe and nourishing food.
“Local efforts to stop the spread of the ASF such as culling of pigs would be futile if the ASF, in another form, would easily get in the country and land on our dinner table,” he added.
In certain parts of Visayas and Mindanao regions, they have banned pork products and hogs coming from Luzon. This has been imposed to prevent the spread of the epidemic even though the DOH and DA initially said that eating meat with ASF virus has no bad effect in the human body.