FDA expands pork importation ban list

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2019   •   844

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of countries temporarily banned from exporting pork meat and other pork products to the Philippines due to suspected cases of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

In a list released recently, the FDA added four more countries, namely North Korea, Hong Kong, Germany and Laos to the list of countries whose pork products have been barred from entering the Philippines.

In the previous months, the FDA issued Order No. 2018-133 and Order No. 2019-045 in line with the memorandum orders of the Department of Agriculture, temporarily banning pork meat from several countries reportedly hit with the ASF.

These nations include China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova and Belgium.

The FDA reiterated in its advisory that it does not allow the registration of processed pork meat products from these suspected ASF-infected countries.

The agency added that a heightened post-marketing surveillance and audit is also being conducted on all concerned establishments to ensure full compliance to the foregoing FDA orders.

“At the same time, to hold violators liable under Republic Act 9711 (Food Administration Act of 2009), Republic Act 10611 (Food Safety Act of 2013) and other pertinent laws, rules and regulations, all in the interest of protecting public health and safety,” the FDA said.

“The public is advised to exercise extreme caution in purchasing and consuming processed pork meat products and is advised to only consume pork meat products which are sourced from countries other than the above listed countries suspected to be affected by ASF virus, and registered with the FDA,” it further stated.

Local meat processors have earlier assured that products made in the country are safe for human consumption and are not containing meat and other materials imported from ASF-infected countries.

FDA eyes restricting sale of flavored e-cigarettes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 21, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Jerred Marsh (R) samples flavored vape juice from Nancy Reyes at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended to the 18th Congress to limit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.

Officer in Charge, Food and Drug Administration Usec. Eric Domingo said this is to prevent children from trying vaping.

Domingo said because of these flavors, the children might think it is safe to consume.

“Of course dapat hindi siya attractive to minors. Gusto natin wala iyong mga flavor na candy, flavor na minsan cheesecake. Hindi ba ganiyan iyong mga flavor nila which attract children(Of course it should not be attractive to minors. We do not want the candy flavor, or the cheesecake flavor. Aren’t those flavors very attractive to children?),” he said.

READ: House OKs tax hike on alcohol, vape products on third reading

The FDA also said that one of the most effective ways to prevent the youth from doing vices is to increase its taxes.

The House of Representatives already approved the excise tax hike on alcohol and vape products on the third reading.

Vape PH, meanwhile, said that higher taxes can only force people to go back to smoking.

“Heavy taxes on reduced-risk products will only result in smokers sticking it out with conventional cigarettes instead of switching to less harmful nicotine products,” their statement reads.

The Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) said there was no public consultation for the proposed bill.

“Our organization could have provided the resources and studies to aid House Representatives understand tobacco harm reduction strategies being embraced by some countries,” according to their statement.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

DA confirms swine deaths despite no declaration of hog-related disease

Marje Pelayo   •   August 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is being careful when it comes to declaring what virus could have caused the latest infestation of pigs in the country.

According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, he was informed about the swine deaths last Friday (August 16) but he refused to name the exact location.

He assured, however, that the government is on top of the situation and is working to address the issue.

“Kung ano ang suspected na may disease ay kina-cull-out, inaalis, binu-bury at dini-disinfect ang lugar (The pigs suspected of the disease are culled out, removed (from the herd), and buried; then the place is disinfected),” according to Secretary Dar.

The secretary wants to see the result of the confirmatory test first being done by foreign experts before declaring what type or kind of disease has caused the deaths of the pigs.

The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), likewise, said they cannot risk committing mistakes by making hasty conclusions like what happened to other countries.

“September 2018 ay nagkamatayan din ang mga baboy sa Japan at ito ay naging national issue, naging international issue (In September 2018, swine deaths were reported in Japan and it became a national issue and had gotten international),” explained BAI Director Ronie Domingo.

“(Ang) ginawa nila, ang kanilang laboratory procedures, diagnosed that it was hog cholera. Pero 75,000 na ang kanilang na-cull na baboy, (What they did, based on their laboratory procedures, was diagnose that it was hog cholera. But they have already culled 75,000 pigs,)” he noted.

The confirmatory test may take up to two weeks to three months.

The possibility of African Swine Fever (ASF) infestation surfaced when the Taiwan government beefed up its customs regulations by banning entry of pork products and checking of carry-on baggage of travelers from the Philippines.

The DA maintains that the Philippines remains ASF free and has banned entry of pork products from 19 ASF-infected countries. – MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

Taiwan starts checking carry-on baggage from PH due to alleged African Swine Fever

UNTV News   •   August 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Taiwan government has started checking carry-on baggage of travelers coming from the Philippines for entry of pork and pork based products.

The new policy was announced on Sunday (August 18) by Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) as a precaution against African Swine Fever (ASF).

Under the new rule, all carry-on bags from the Philippines will be examined by X-Ray machines at the airport and other ports of entry.

According to a report from Taiwan News, the CEOC was informed by a reliable source that ASF cases have been detected in two provinces.

This, despite no confirmed reports from local authorities have been submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) yet, the center said.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar on Monday (August 19) confirmed that there were reported pig deaths in certain areas in the country but refused to identify the location.

The Department, however, is still waiting for the result of the confirmatory tests being made on pig specimens to make sure what type of disease infested the pigs, according to Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronie Domingo.

“Noong 1998, ang Malaysia, namatay ang mga baboy nila at nagkasakit ang mga tao din at sabi nila ang sakit na ito kuwan lang ito Japanese encephalitis. Kayat gumawa sila ng control measures nila laban sa Japanese encephalitis,” recalled Domingo.

(In 1998, Malaysia reported pig deaths which also infected humans. They said it was Japanese encephalitis so they imposed control measures against Japanese encephalitis.)

“Nag-fogging sila at kung ano-ano pa pero tuloy-tuloy ang mortalities lalo na doon sa mga nag-aalaga ng baboy and then ito ay naging national issue, naging international issue siya. Halos nag collapse ang kanilang swine industry pero later on na-discover nila it was Nipa virus. Wrong diagnosis,” he added.

(They did fogging and many other measures but the mortality continued especially among pig handlers. It became a national issue even an international issue. (Malaysia’s) swine industry almost collapsed but later on, they discovered, it was Nipa virus. (So) wrong diagnosis.)

Taiwan’s checking of carry-on baggage of incoming travellers from the Philippines takes effect Monday (August 19).

Travelers who will be caught carrying pork product starting August 19 from non ASF-infected countries without declaring them to the authorities will face a fine of between NT$10,000 (US$316) or P16,500 to NT$30,000 (US$950) or P50,000 for bringing pork products from non-ASF-affected countries.

Meanwhile, bringing in to Taiwan pork products without reporting to authorities will incur penalties of NT$200,000 (US$6,300) or about P300,000 for first offense and NT$1 million (US$31,600) or P1.6-M for committing the offense twice. — MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

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