An examination of the container shipped from China found the items positive for African Swine Flu (ASF) virus last January 22. The “misdeclared” shipment which contains pork balls and dumplings was put under Alert order at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) and then later ordered by the Customs Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Raniel Ramiro to be tested. The laboratory tests results confirmed that the said items which arrived on December 11 of last year, consigned to Dynamic M International Trading Inc., was indeed positive for ASF.
The lab examination was also witnessed by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Services, the National Meat Inspection Service, the Customs Enforcement and Security Service, the Bureau of Animal Industry, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
In relation to the result, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero ordered all the BOC personnel to be more vigilant. He also stated that:
“This is a message to all importers. We are not going to tolerate misdeclared goods or the importation of food products that will put our industries in jeopardy. We’ve already lost so much because of the swine flu. Our ports are not open for more of these products.”
Meanwhile, Veterinary Quarantine Services Chief Dr. Reynaldo Quilang has suggested that all items of the container seized should be buried at the importer’s warehouse compound after the conduct of the disposal plan will be finalized. The BOC is now also preparing to file a case against the company which violated the “Sections 1400, 1113, and 117 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, RA 3720 or the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and RA 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016”. The BOC will also recommend the cancellation of its brokers’ licenses.
According to the World Organization for Animal Health, “ASF is a severe and highly contagious viral disease among domestic and wild pigs”. However, in a statement last September of 2019, The Department of Health (DOH) declared that ASF is not a risk to human health. In a statement, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, “We want to allay the fears of the public by saying that, as long as pork is bought from reliable sources and it is cooked thoroughly, pork is safe to eat”.
ASF can spread easily through “direct contact with the infected animal or contaminated objects such as vehicles and equipment”. In October 2019, some government units banned the entry of pork products from areas which have cases of the virus. During that time, there were at least 13 provinces in the Philippines that were declared positive of the ASF outbreak.
- Featured Photo: dailyguardian.com.ph/seize-and-destroy-meat-products-from-asf-infected-countries-confiscated-disposed/