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Cebu City DVMF warns against Korean brand of luncheon meat sold online

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | April 05,2022 - 07:08 PM

Pork products confiscated by the DVMF are incinerated on April 5, 2022. | Photo Courtesy of Cebu City DVMF

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) is warning the public against buying a Korean brand of luncheon meat commonly called “Korean Spam” being sold online.

Pork products from the South and North Korea are still banned in Cebu due to the threat of the African Swine Fever (ASF) to the multimillion hog industry on the island.

Doctor Jessica Maribojoc, the head of the DVMF, told CDN Digital that they have confiscated 96 cans of Korean luncheon meat from several stores in the downtown area.

Apparently, these stores were able to bypass the ban by ordering the products online. This puts the city’s hog industry at great risk should ASF infect live pigs.

“Common kaayo na karon. Naglisod mi ana kay daghan kaayog online sellers. Naghangyo mi sa FDA (Food and Drug Administration) kay basta processed naman gud, sa FDA na na siya. Pero part siya sa atong surveillance sa DVMF for ASF kay wala may tawo and FDA with regards to enforcement,” said city’s chief veterinarian.

(This is very common these days. We are having a difficult time because there are a lot of online sellers. We pleaded with FDA because when it comes to processed food, it’s the FDA. But this is part of the surveillance of DVMF for ASF because the FDA has no manpower with regards to enforcement.)

The 96 cans of Korean luncheon meat is part of the 188.8 kilograms of confiscated pork products from banned areas of the country or from banned countries abroad.

The DVMF incinerated the products on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, as part of their anti-ASF operations.

The Korean luncheon meat, whose can looks like that of a famous US brand, concerns the DVMF because they cannot trace who are buying these products from online sellers. These should have been stopped at the Bureau of Customs upon entry to the country but it could be that Cebu consumers are buying within the Philippines.

Still, based on their surveillance, a rise in demand is noticeable as some stores in Cebu City are stocking cans of this Korean luncheon meat even if they know these are banned and could be confiscated.

“Mas barato gyod siya sa Spam nga gikan sa United States. Unya, ingon sila mas lami pa gyod daw. Mao na challenging gyod siya dakpun,” said Maribojoc.

(It’s cheaper than Spam of the United States. And some say it’s more delicious. That’s why it’s challenging to catching those selling.)

The DVMF is now working with a cooperative to monitor these online sellers in the hopes that they can be traced. But Maribojoc said they need the help of the FDA to stop the supply.

She warns that should this product bring ASF to Cebu, it  may cause massive damages to the multimillion hog industry not only in Cebu City but all over the province.

“Kung masudlan tag ASF, mangamatay atong mga baboy, mahutdan tag supply, momahal and karne. Mao na, kung mahimo, ari lang ta palit sa Cebu. Likayan nato ang mopalit og imported,” the veterinarian added.

(If ASF enters, our pigs will die, we will run out of supply, prices of pork meat will rise. That’s why if possible, let’s buy only from Cebu. Let’s refrain from buying imported products.)

Maribojoc said they will not stop tracking down not only this banned Korean luncheon meat, but also all pork products from banned regions or countries to protect Cebu’s hog industry.



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