DA to vendors: Sale, display of frozen meat products sans proper refrigeration facilities not allowed

Marje Pelayo   •   February 18, 2021   •   611

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has reminded vendors that it is prohibited to display or sell frozen products in public markets without properly- equipped refrigeration facilities.

This is pursuant to DA Administrative Order No. 6 Series of 2012 which emphasizes the rules and regulations on hygienic handling of chilled, frozen, and thawed meat in commercial establishments.

The DA explained that improper storage and thawing of frozen meat products, particularly in open public markets, presents a significant risk in the safety of meat products for sale.

The DA explained on the matter after the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) alleged Secretary William Dar as saying frozen is better than freshly butchered pork.

“Secretary William Dar did not say that frozen pork is better than fresh slaughtered pork,” the DA emphasized.

The order states that: “All persons or corporations, found guilty of directly or indirectly violating any provisions of this Order shall be subject to sanctions prescribed in Republic Act 9296, otherwise known as the “Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines” without prejudice to prosecution for violation of the Consumer Act of the Philippines and other applicable laws.”

Amid the current issue on pork and poultry supply, the DA through the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) continuously strive to improve the safe selling of meat, both frozen and fresh, in both public and private markets.

The DA, therefore, warns the general public not to buy frozen meat products if these are not stored in chillers or freezers.

DA to impose SRP on imported pork beginning April 9

Marje Pelayo   •   April 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) will be imposing a suggested retail price (SRP) on imported pork which is now cheaper than locally produced meat.

At present, the price of kasim is P270 per kilogram; while liempo costs P350 per kilogram.

Likewise, the DA will require importers and retailers to put proper labeling in each package for easy distinction and for the protection of consumers.

“The DA thru the NMIS-the National Meat Inspection Service will require importers to package their pork, of course, those 2 categories– Liempo or Kasim, into salable packages of 1 kilo or 500 grams,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

Thursday (April 8) is the last day of a two-month implementation of the price cap on pork and poultry meat.

The DA plans to focus on additional strategies to prevent a further spike in the prices of such commodities.

The DA sees a possible importation of pork meat and a lowering of tariff.

But while this strategy remains pending approval, the DA will continue transporting pork from African Swine Fever-free provinces to Metro Manila to stabilize supply.

The agency also sees the repopulation of pigs in ASF-free areas.

“Iyong dati, iyong price cap will not solve the problem. Ang bottom line pa rin ay supply,” noted Dar.

“Price capping is just one of the measures. So to stabilize prices talaga you have to complete those other measures to be in place,” he added.

The DA has allocated P45-M for the procurement of freezers which will be provided to retailers.

A compliance monitoring team will also be created to ensure that retailers are observing and following the SRP.

For its part, the Trade Department hopes that an additional supply of pork will help stabilize the prices.

“I think P320 to P350 hopefully will be the ideal price moving forward. Given maybe the expected supply asahan natin na dyan po iikot ang presyo in a way medyo istable na,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

But for consumers, the implementation of the price cap remains best as they hope to hear the result of the investigation on the alleged manipulation in pork prices as soon as possible.

“Dito sa SRP suggested di ba? Suggested retail prices. So malikot pa rin ang presyo sa palengke,” said the group’s representative Atty. Vic Dimagiba. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DA eyes SRP for pork, chicken after price cap

Marje Pelayo   •   April 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) believes that the implementation of the price ceiling has been effective in controlling the prices of pork in the country.

This, even if the P270 to P300 pesos per kilogram price cap was not followed in the past two months.

Prior to the price ceiling, pork products were sold at a staggering P450 pesos per kilogram specifically in February.

“Successful ang overall lahat ng measures towards the price cap at least hindi na umabot ng P400 (per kilo),” noted DA Secretary William Dar.

Now, prices of pork in Metro Manila markets range from P350 to P400 pesos.

The DA is currently looking into setting a suggested retail price after the lifting of the price ceiling for pork and chicken on April 8.

“We are looking at the SRP structure pero wala pa kaming recommendations. We will finalize before April 8,” Dar said.

The DA will also assess if it will continue the transport assistance for hog raisers from provinces delivered in Metro Manila.

A group of dealers and vendors in the Commonwealth market, opposes the setting of SRP but favors the implementation of a price cap.

“Mas lalong walang masusunod na presyo dyan kasi suggested retail price lang yan… pwedeng magkaroon sila ng dayaan mataas ang baboy si ganito, pwedeng magsinungaling,” said meat dealer Toto Rillo.

Meanwhile, the farmgate price of chicken decreased by P40 pesos per kilogram since March 12.

The United Broiler Raiser’s Association said this is the effects of the past holiday season and the reimplementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“May impact na talaga lack of purchasing power nung consumers, down talaga ang economy natin. Ang curfew nila ngayon is 6 o’clock. Malaki nawawala sa demand. kahit yung mga lechon manok apektado,” noted Atty. Bong Inciong of the United Broiler Raiser’s Association (UBRA).

UBRA favors the implementation of SRP provided that prices will be recomputed to reflect the appropriate price.

The group, on the other hand, opposes the implementation of the price ceiling.

“The price cap will be counterproductive because you are distorting the prices. maraming mawawalan ng gana because you are distorting the prices and the incentives to be produce or import to increase supply,” it said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

PH bans poultry products from Russia; world’s first human transmission of bird flu detected

Marje Pelayo   •   March 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has issued a temporary ban on the importation of poultry products from Russia.

Through DA Memorandum Order No. 17, the agency issued the ban after experts detected the world’s first case of human transmission of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu) or H5N8 strain in the country.

The order signed by Agriculture Secretary William Dar suspends the importation of domestic and wild birds and their by-products from the Russian Federation.

Specifically, these include poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs, and semen.

Reports from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) confirmed the ongoing outbreaks of the H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in several areas of the Russian Federation.

The Agriculture Chief emphasized that there is a “need to prevent the entry of HPAI virus to protect the health of the local poultry population.” 

Following the temporary ban, the DA also ordered the suspension of processing, evaluation of the application, and issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance to these commodities.

READ: Philippines now free of H5N6 bird flu – DA

It should be recalled that the Philippines in January was declared free of avian influenza or bird flu by the OIE, after the elimination of avian influenza A (H5N6) that was detected in Rizal and Pampanga.

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