DVMF reminds public: Avoid banned imported meat from countries where ASF has spread

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio May 31,2019 - 03:16 PM

Cebu City Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) has been inspecting supermarkets for banned meat products from African Swine Fever countries. | Photo courtesy of Dr. Alice Utlang, head of DVMF

CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Cebu City Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) is reminding consumers to avoid the consumption of banned imported meat from countries where African Swine Fever (ASF) has spread, even if it doesn’t pose a risk to humans.

Doctor Alice Utlang, the head of the DVMF, said meat products, including canned goods from countries such as China, Macau, Bulgaria, Vietnam, and Ukraine, have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of ASF infection spreading among swines in these countries.

ASF, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs that causes high fever, loss of appetite, hemorrhages in the skin, and internal organs, and death to the affected pigs.

The DVMF has been going around Cebu City, confiscating imported canned meat from department stores and supermarkets in compliance with the FDA directives.

Utlang urged the public to be careful when they buy their groceries and check the source of the canned meat and its manufacturing dates.

“Canned meat manufactured before August 25, 2018 are safe but beyond that, it might pose a risk,” said Utlang.

According to Utlang, ASF virus does not pose any risk to humans. However, humans who consume affected meat are capable of infecting swine through various means, such as when human waste infects the water system, then infecting agricultural lands, until finally reaching the pigs.

“The problem with ASF is it is difficult to kill. It can survive 70 degrees Celsius up to 15 minutes and it can even survive freezing. It can be dangerous for our pigs if they are exposed to the virus,” said Utlang.

Utlang said that the pork industry in the Philippines amounts to P2 billion and if ASF gets into the country, the pigs who will die of the disease cannot be consumed, affecting gravely the industry.

Use commercial feeds

She said that people should be careful not to let the ASF into the country through any meat products by refusing to consume any of these products.

For hog growers, Ultang suggested to avoid feeding the pigs leftovers and use commercial feeds for the mean time.

She also suggested boiling the leftovers for 15 minutes before feeding it to the pigs, if it is unavoidable.

Utlang urged small store-owners to also stop selling imported canned meats and to be careful with old stocks as well.

She said the DVMF will be asking the help of the barangays to monitor local markets and small stores on these banned meat.

She said that the community has to unite in protecting the pigs from the “deadly” ASF. /bmjo


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TAGS: African Swine Flu, ASF, banned imported meat, Cebu City, FDA, imported canned meat

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