Pork vendors sales slump amid African Swine Fever fears

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 20) — Business for pork vendors has been slow as fears of African Swine Fever (ASF) and swine deaths have been reported in some parts of the country.

Vendors say their sales have been slashed — some nearly by half — adding buyers believe all pork products are affected. Despite their assurances, customers remain wary.

The Department of Agriculture (DA), however, allays concerns saying it is safe to consume pork sold in markets. They add affected pigs from infected farms have been culled.

RELATED: Hogs tested for disease amid suspected African Swine Fever in PH

DA Spokesperson Noel Reyes said the culled pigs were also properly buried.

There are also quarantine checkpoints in place to prevent the transport of pigs and pork products from within one kilometer radius of infected farms.

The cause of swine deaths is being investigated and authorities have not released any information on the areas with suspected cases of the unknown swinnot releasede disease.

The DA has sought the help of foreign laboratories to confirm the cause of the increase in mortality rates of pigs in the country, Secretary William Dar said on Monday.

But CNN Philippines was able to confirm with Rodriguez, Rizal disaster officials that barangays San Jose, San Isidro and Macabud are under quarantine.

Meanwhile, Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino III held a meeting Wednesday to firm up preemptive measures to ensure the province will be kept ASF free.

This after Espino ordered a temporary ban on the entry of swine/pig into the province on Tuesday.

ASF poses no direct and immediate danger to human health, but its spread may threaten the hog industry, with major potential impact on supplies and prices.

The disease, against which there is yet no vaccine or cure, was first detected in Asia in 2018, in an area in Siberia, according to the United Nations.

In December 2018, Philippine agriculture authorities ruled that pork products from affected countries would be confiscated at the points of entry.

The Philippines has banned the entry of pork and pork-based products from ASF-affected countries Japan, China, Hungary, Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa and Zambia.

CNN Philippines correspondent Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.