Meat seized as gov’t tightens alert vs. African swine scare

MANILA — Authorities have seized a total of 72.3 kilograms of meat products over the past month as part of measures to prevent the entry of pork commodities contaminated with African Swine Fever (ASF).

The Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Clark, in close coordination with the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), have seized pork, beef and poultry products without Import Permit or Sanitary/Phyto-sanitary Import Clearance.

Based on the BAI report from December 1, 2018 to January 8, 2019, it has confiscated 31.5 kilograms of pork products, 18.5 kilograms of beef products and 22.3 kilograms of poultry products.

In an advisory issued Friday, the BOC said the products were found inside the luggage of passengers from South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Spain and the US.

The apprehension was a result of the rigid inspection of check-in and hand-carried luggage of incoming passengers at the Clark International Airport.

It added that mandatory x-ray inspection of baggage of incoming passengers and physical examination of marked luggage are also being implemented.

The BAI also established foot baths at the airport’s entry points.

The seized meat products were turned-over to the bureau for destruction.

Last week, the Department of Agriculture (DA) banned the import of pork and pork-based products from 13 countries namely Belgium, China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, and Zambia.

The entry of any disease into the country, especially the ASF, whose effect on human health is still being studied, could devastate the country’s hog industry.  Ferdinand Patinio /