QUEZON CITY Mayor Maria Josefina G. Belmonte announced on Friday that she will be issuing an executive order to ensure that meat being sold by supermarkets in her city are free from African Swine Fever (ASF).
In a news conference in Quezon City on Friday afternoon, Ms. Belmonte said that she had met with the officials of the supermarkets operating in the city to discuss measures to prevent the sale of ASF-contaminated meat products.
“Napag-usapan namin na ako ay maglalabas ng isang (We agreed that I will be issuing an) executive order as to how to address this issue and prevent this from occurring again,” Ms. Belmonte told reporters.
To recall, the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed on Jan. 3 that there hd been a case of ASF in a Quezon City meat dealer’s produce chiller.
The DA identified the dealer as North Star Meat Merchants, Inc., which has operations at the Cherry Congressional grocery in Quezon City.
The DA also said the Bulacan-based meat company has since been sanctioned and the Quezon City government has seized all the pork displayed in the chiller.
“We already agreed that number one, the supermarkets will submit to us the list of protocols na kanila pong ipu-put (that they will put) in place, internal control systems kumbaga para ma-self-police nila ang kanilang mga sarili (for them to police themselves), at ma-identify on their own kung mayroon silang, o may lumusot na ASF-infected meat sa kanilng inventory (if they have or if any ASF-infected meat made its way into their inventories),” Ms. Belmonte also said during the briefing.
She said the city government will review these points prior to their inclusion in the draft EO.
The supermarkets, the mayor said, were given a week to submit their other recommendations. The mayor expects to receive additional recommendations from them on Friday next week.
“The legal team will come up with a draft executive order by Wednesday of the following week — week after next — we will have a draft executive order,” she said.
Ms. Belmonte said further that she will be inviting the supermarket operators again for consultation once the draft is ready.
“Kapag okay na sa kanila ang nakasulat doon sa draft executive order, in front of them, pipirmahan ko na,” she added. (I will sign the draft EO in front of them once they are okay with the content.)
Among the companies that attended the meeting were SM Supermarket, Robinsons Supermarket, Landers Superstore, North Star Meat Merchants, S&R Membership Shopping, and Puregold. — Arjay L. Balinbin