DA asks recall of Ma Ling, pork products from countries affected by African Swine Fever

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The African Swine Fever which has almost wiped out a quarter of China's hog population has reached Hong Kong, and the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine hog industry are now racing against time to protect our borders from the virus.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 27) — The Department of Agriculture and stakeholders of the Philippine hog industry said Monday it will ask the Food and Drug Authority to recall processed pork products, including processed Ma Ling, from countries affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF).

“We would like to assure our trading partners that this action not to least severing trade relations with them but protecting the local hog industry. As soon as we are able to establish an impenetrable quarantine well then we will be okay,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said Monday.

The DA said they will talk to FDA on Tuesday for the immediate recall of Ma Ling and all products from 16 ASF-affected countries:

•Russia

•Ukraine

•Czech Republic

•Moldova

•South Africa

•Zambia

•Hungary

•Bulgaria

•Belgium

•Latvia

•Poland

•Romania

•China (including Hong Kong and Macau)

•Mongolia

•Vietnam

•Cambodia

At the same time, hog industry representatives have also written an appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a two-month suspension of the importation of pork and processed pork products from countries which at high risk of getting the virus.

“This would just be very temporary, admittedly our defense mechanism in the entry falls. there are channels which can be used for imported products to come in, knowing the disastrous effects of ASF we should really prevent the entry,” Dr. Rufina Salas, Secretary General of the Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines said.

This is to give the DA, Bureau of Customs and Food and Drug Administration time to address loopholes in quarantine measures and strengthen our borders.

The FDA still issues Quarantine Veterinary Clearance or license to transport imported canned goods from ASF-affected countries. This is despite a DA order in August suspending the importation of pork-based products from areas with recorded ASF cases. This is also why some canned goods from China, such as Ma Ling, could still be found in supermarkets.

Piñol also appealed to importers to voluntarily suspend the transport of processed pork products from other high-risk countries, in consideration of the thousands of Filipino farmers and families who might be affected once ASF enters the country.

Vietnam already killed 1.4 million hogs and China lost 30% of their hog population because of the virus.