Canned pork seized from OFW positive for African Swine Fever virus

Marje Pelayo   •   June 14, 2019   •   3982

Confiscated canned pork products that tested positive for African Swine Fever (ASF) virus | Courtesy : Secretary Manny Piñol’s Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol confirmed on Friday (June 12) that the canned pork products confiscated last March 25 at the Clark International Airport have tested positive for African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.

Piñol said that the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported the detection of the ASF virus from the confiscated canned pork products brought in by a returning overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from Hong Kong.

The Agriculture Chief cited a report by Dr. Rachel Azul of BAI’s Virulogy Section saying “the viral DNA was isolated in pork luncheon meat and was tested using the ASF Taqman PCR Asssay at the ADDRL,” a procedure validated by laboratories in the United Kingdom and is widely used in countries in Asia for detection of ASF virus.

Azul clarified, however, that the detection of the ASF virus in the confiscated canned pork does not change the Philippine’s status as an “African Swine Fever-free” nation.

“So far, no African swine fever infections have been reported in pigs in the country,” she said as posted by Secretary Piñol.

“The seizure is a warning for the industry and an acknowledgment of the catastrophic threat on our doorsteps. If introduced, ASF would have a significant impact on pig health and production and contribute to enormous economic losses,” she added.

In a separate post, Secretary Piñol defended the Bureau of Quarantine for imposing strict screening procedures at airports as preventive measure against the the entry of the deadly pig virus.

“Kung nakalusot po ito at naipakain sa mga alagang baboy ang tira-tira, maaring kumalat ang sakit sa ating mga babuyan at magiging sanhi ng pagkasira ng ating hog industry,” he said.

(If leftovers of these products were fed to our livestock, the virus could have spread and harm our hog industry.)

“Doon po sa mga nagsasabing nag-o-over react lang kami at nagrereklamo sa mga mahigpit na quarantine protocols, ito po ang patunay na meron talaga tayong kinakaharap na panganib,” he added.

(To those who are accusing us of over reacting and were complaining against strict quarantine protocols, this is the proof that there is really danger ahead of us.)

READ: Ban on pork, pork-based products from ASF-infected countries still in effect – DA

Piñol asked all returning Filipinos to yield to quarantine officers at the airport.

“Huwag na po tayong maging pilosopo at matigas ang ulo. Sumunod po tayo sa mga quarantine officers sa mga airport,” he appealed.

(Let us not argue and don’t be hard-headed. Let us just follow the quarantine officers at the airport.)

“Bawal na po magpasok ng mga delata at processed pork products sa bansa. Huhulihin po kayo at pagmumultahin,” he concluded.

(It is prohibited to bring canned and processed pork products into the country. You will be arrested and fined.)

DA to double tariffs on imported rice to aid local farmers

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary William Dar announced on Friday (September 20) that the Department of Agriculture (DA) will impose double tariff on imported rice effective end of this month.

“We have to holistically and systematically protect the consuming public and much more, the farmers,” Dar said.

“So, I have taken the necessary steps and the direction in which we will be enforcing doubling the tariff during these times when we have exceeded importing rice beyond the requirement of this country,” he added.

The official said such measure is to address the increasing price of rice in markets in line with the Republic Act 8752 (Anti-Dumping Act of 1999).

The law said anti-dumping duties are imposed on imports which the government determines to be priced below fair market value.

“We will impose a tariff from the present level of 35 percent to 75 percent for imported rice coming from ASEAN countries and double the tariff from those outside ASEAN countries from 50-100%,” Secretary Dar said.

At present, 93% of the country’s rice is locally produced while about 7 to 10% comes from importation.

“We will protect the farmers by not allowing additional importation so that during this main harvest our local farmers will benefit from the respectable prices set by the government,” Dar concluded.

Hog raisers in Mindanao want quarantine wall vs ASF

Robie de Guzman   •   September 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Hog raisers in Mindanao are recommending the establishment of a quarantine wall to block the entry of the African Swine Fever (AFS) virus in the region.

During the first Mindanao Hog raisers Forum held in Davao City on Wednesday (Sept 18), Mindanao Development Authority chairman Manny Piñol said stakeholders are proposing that the island have its own quarantine cluster separate from other main islands in the country.

This is to protect Mindanao’s hog industry from the possible entry of pork meats and other pork products from Luzon and Visayas areas reported to have been hit by the ASF.

The areas with confirmed cases of ASF were Rizal and Bulacan.

“Recommendation of the stakeholders yesterday was to set up a quarantine wall to protect Mindanao from ASF entry. At saka wala namang masyadong problema kasi net exporter (they produce in excess) ang Mindanao ng mga meat products eh, ng pork,” he said.

Piñol, a former agriculture secretary, said if the proposal will be granted, areas with critical point of entries such as General Santos City, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga and Surigao del Norte will be strictly monitored for the possible entry of meat products.

The monitoring will include international sea ports and roll-on/roll-off seacrafts.

Piñol said he has been pushing for this measure since the avian (bird) flu outbreak that previously hit parts of Luzon.

“I think every region affected as of the moment should also do that. Even Visayas should do that,” he said.

Aside from putting up a quarantine wall, Piñol said he will also sign an order to temporarily prohibit swill feeding in hog farms. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mai Bermudez)

Int’l organization reports 9,997 dead, culled pigs due to African Swine Fever in 13 days

Marje Pelayo   •   September 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Within only 13 days from August 30 to September 12 this year, a total of 9,997 pigs have died or been culled due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF), according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The biggest number according to OIE, comes from Asia with 8,196 notified losses, followed by Europe with 1,587 and Africa with only 214.

From these numbers, 7,952 were notified in the Philippines.

So far, the OIE said, 19 countries and territories notified new or ongoing outbreaks:

Europe

  1. Bulgaria
  2. Hungary
  3. Latvia
  4. Moldova
  5. Poland
  6. Romania
  7. Russia
  8. Serbia
  9. Slovakia
  10. Ukraine

 Asia

  1. China
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Laos
  4. Myanmar
  5. Philippines
  6. Russia
  7. South Korea
  8. Vietnam

Africa

  1. South Africa
  2. Zimbabwe

During this period, 344 new outbreaks were notified, bringing the total of ongoing ASF outbreaks worldwide is now 8,239 with the biggest outbreak recorded in Vietnam at 6,083.

Though there is no recorded human transmission or effects of the pig disease, the OIE still encourages member countries to intensify national sanitary measures on waste disposal including those from passenger aircrafts and sea vessels as well as impose an enhanced on-farm biosecurity measures.

These include protection of pigs from untreated swill feeding that is common in the Philippines’ among backyard hog raisers.

The international agency also urges members to echo the importance of OIE international standards for risk management of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) to reduce the risk of exporting disease to trading partners.

According to www.pigprogress.net, a key source of information for pig and pork production industry in the world, the ASF virus is highly contagious and the infection spreads rapidly from pig to pig usually from infected discharges and feces as well as by the consumption of infected meat.

The disease is “extremely resistant to putrefaction and sunlight, and can persist in refrigerated meat and carcasses for up to 6 months and for much longer when frozen.”

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