The city’s Task Force (TF) Karne, together with personnel from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Friday conducted strike operations in two public markets to ensure that the national ban on the importation, distribution and sale of all processed pork products from countries affected by the African swine fever (ASF) virus is implemented in Zamboanga.
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 – confiscated fifty-seven (57) cans of pork luncheon meat from China.
Of this total, fifty-five (55) were seized from four stalls at the Sta. Cruz Public Market and the rest from one stall at the Zamboanga City Main Public Market. These were inventoried, sealed and placed under FDA custody.
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. (Claudine Uniana)