Strike operation vs ASF virus continues

The city’s Task Force (TF) Karne in collaboration with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) yesterday continued its strike operations, a move to enforce the national temporary ban on the importation, distribution and sale of all processed pork products from countries affected by the African swine fever (ASF) virus.

The task force – composed of the Office of the City Veterinarian (OCVet), the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), Task Force Ordinance, the Licenses and Business Permits Division of the City Mayor’s Office, among others – trooped to Barangay Vitali and confiscated from three (3) establishments a total of seventeen (17) cans of a popular pork luncheon meat from China. All confiscated items were inventoried, sealed and placed under FDA custody.

Yesterday’s strike operation is the fifth to be performed since June 13.

Joining China in the list of suspected ASF-affected countries are Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, Belgium, Hongkong, North Korea, and Laos.

The public is advised to refrain from buying and/or consuming processed pork products from the said countries until the FDA Central Office lifts the ban on the same.

According to the World Organization for Animal Health, the African swine fever is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar and American wild pigs. The virus is transmitted by direct contact, ingestion of garbage/swill feeds containing unprocessed infected pig meat or pig meat products, ticks and biting flies, and contaminated premises, vehicles, equipment and clothing.

While not a human health threat, the ASF poses a risk to the swine population in the country. As of yet, no vaccine or treatment exists to combat the virus. Thus, stringent importation policies, early detection and strict biosecurity measures are being carried out to ensure the Philippines remain ASF-free. (PR and photos: Claudine Uniana)