BOC on tight watch vs. African swine fever

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MANILA — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Saturday assured strict monitoring of all ports to prevent the entry of pork and pork products contaminated with African Swine Fever (ASF) into the country.

The Bi in a statement sai d “All ports of entry are continuously being monitored to safeguard the country’s borders against the entry of contaminated pork and pork products with ASF.”

At the same time, the BOC added that only importers with proper clearances and permits from government agencies tasked to regulate certain commodities such as the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Industry, and Food and Drug Administration, among others can import meat products into the country.

“The Bureau assures the public that it is closely coordinating with the various regulatory agencies of the government in implementing policies such as the importation ban on meat products of the Department of Agriculture,” it added.

According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the ASF is a highly-contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar, and American wild pigs.

It is caused by DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family which causes high fever, loss of appetite, hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs, and death in two to 10 days of the affected pigs.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered the recall and seizure of imported pork meat products in the market from countries suspected to be affected by the ASF virus.

It also reminded that importing, distributing, offering for sale and/or donating these banned products are in violation of the FDA Act of 2009, the Food Safety Act of 2013, and other relevant laws, rules and regulations on food safety.

The FDA also expanded the temporary ban on the importation, distribution, and sale of all processed pork meat products coming from the following countries — China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, and Belgium. -PNA

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