THE PHILIPPINES has lifted a ban on pigs and pork imports from Belgium, including semen for use by breeders.
In a memorandum order signed on Oct. 26, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar allowed the entry of animals and pork products on condition that they were sourced from parts of Belgium with no African Swine Fever (ASF) since the animals were born, or for at least three months.
Mr. Dar said the Belgian pork products must be slaughtered at a facility inspected under guidelines set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
According to the DA, the ban was lifted after Jean-François Heymans, Belgium’s director of veterinary services, declared to the OIE that it has zero documented outbreaks of ASF in its domestic and captive wild pig population.
The DA added that the last documented case of an ASF outbreak in Belgium was in March and affected only wild boars.
The DA said the risk of contamination from Belgian pork imports is “negligible.”
In October 2018, then Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol imposed the ban after Belgium reported cases of ASF in wild boars.
According to the Bureau of Animal Industry, Belgium sent more than 15,000 metric tons (MT) of pork products to the Philippines in 2017 and almost 14,000 MT in 2018 before the ban was implemented. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave