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

UNTV News   •   August 19, 2019   •   759

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)

African swine fever outbreak spooks Phl pork-lovers

UNTV News   •   September 17, 2019

Reports of an outbreak of African Swine Fever in two provinces north of the Philippines capital Manila have caused a drop in the sales of pork meat and the country’s top delicacy roasted pig, sellers and shoppers said on Tuesday (September 17).

Roasted pork, locally known as “lechon”, sold in the heart of Manila, was slow to sell with only a handful being displayed in shops.

Lechon seller Minda Atim told Reuters that while it was the off-season for lechon sales, news of the African Swine Fever appearing in the Philippines further dampened the sales.

Some of the shopkeepers even displayed certificates from the pig suppliers about pigs being clear from any infections or diseases, but even that did not seem to help much.

Meanwhile, shoppers at meat markets said they were staying away from raw pork meat and opting for the relatively safer seafood and chicken instead. There was no significant change in the prices of pork in Manila.

African swine fever is highly contagious and nearly 100% fatal to swine herds.

It occurs among pigs and wild boars, transmitted by ticks and direct contact between animals. There is no vaccine for the disease, but it does not affect humans.

The first outbreak of African swine fever in East Asia was reported in China in early August 2018.

Since then, the deadly virus has spread to all Chinese provinces and regions, as well as to other Asian nations, including Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines. (REUTERS)

FDA must tighten regulations on processed meat – DA

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Regulations on processed meat such as well-loved Filipino delicacies tocino and longganisa should be tightened by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

According to Agriculture Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs Ernesto Gonzales, consumers cannot be complacent on buying these processed products especially if they are not sure of the source or origin of the raw meat.

Gonzales added that it is difficult to determine if the pork meat is contaminated with African Swine Fever (ASF) once it is processed.

He added that even ‘botcha’ or double-dead pork meat can be made into meat delicacies without the consumer noticing it because of colorings and extenders used in the process.

The official said the best way to determine if the pork meat is safe for consumption is to know the source of the raw meat, and if it is certified by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).

Kapag na-issue-han na ang karne from slaughterhouse ng meat inspection certificate (once meat from the slaughterhouse is issued with meat inspection certificate), definitely that meat is safe to eat,” Gonzales said.

However, the DA admitted that the government is lacking when it comes to regulations on processed meat so the coordination of the local government units (LGUs) is of utmost importance.

Iyang problema natin yung mga maliliit na food processors na gumagawa ng mga longanisa, tocino, ang regulation hindi ganoon ka-strict ( The problem with small-time food processors or makers of longanisa and tocino is that the regulation is not that strict), ” Gonzales noted.

If ever the processed meat is infected with ASF, Gonzales said, it is still safe to eat, provided that it went through the proper cooking procedure of 30 minutes under 70’C temperature. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

South Korea detects first African swine fever outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2019

South Korea has raised its animal disease alert to the highest level after its first outbreak of deadly African swine fever at a pig farm in Paju, a town near the border with North Korea, its agriculture ministry said on Tuesday (September 17).

The case in South Korea was reported less than four months after the neighbouring North reported its first outbreak in late May.

Kim Hyeon-soo, South Korea’s agriculture minister, told a news briefing on Tuesday that in addition to raising the alert level, nearly 4,000 hogs would be culled to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It is officially confirmed on the African swine fever breakout in the country (South Korea) on September 17, 2019. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs immediately raised an alert level of Africa swine fever to the highest as soon as it was confirmed,” the minister said.

“The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs will make all efforts to stop the spread of the African swine fever through swift disinfection measures,” he added.

African swine fever is highly contagious and fatal to swine herds. It occurs among pigs and wild boars, transmitted by ticks and direct contact between animals. Currently there is no vaccine against the disease, but it does not affect humans. – REUTERS

(Production: Hyunyoung Yi)

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