A worker carrying pork at the Commonwealth Public Market. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS
THE Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it has ordered the recall and seizure of pork meat products imported from countries affected by African Swine Fever (ASF).
The order covers products which are for distribution, offered for sale, transfer, or donation.
“Pursuant to the FDA Order No. 2018-133 dated 24 September 2018 and FDA Order No. 2019-045 dated 27 May 2019, all importers, distributors, retail outlets, and other dealers of processed pork meat products, are hereby ordered to immediately recall all pork meat products imported from countries suspected to be affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus as identified in the aforementioned Orders,” FDA said through the FDA Order 2019-046 given to reporters on Tuesday.
Food-Drug Regulation Officers and Regulatory Enforcement Unit (REU) officers have been instructed to collect all pork products in circulation originating from ASF-affected countries. It authorized them to seek the assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Local Government Units (LGUs) if necessary.
Section 14 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9711 authorizes the FDA Director-General “to issue orders of seizure, to seize and hold in custody any article or articles of food… that is adulterated, counterfeited, misbranded or unregistered, or drug, in-vitro diagnostic reagent, biologicals, and vaccine that is adulterated or misbranded.”
The FDA also reiterated its warning against the purchase and consumption and importation of all pork meat products from ASF-affected countries like China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, and Belgium.
ASF is non-treatable and contagious, and can kill swine in as little as two days. The Bureau of Customs first alerted NAIA in January about the possible entry of contaminated pork products after it received reports of their entry into South Korea and Japan late last year. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang