Retailers urged to pull out pork-based products from ASF areas

The Antique ASF Task Force on Wednesday asked retailers to voluntarily pull out from display pork-based processed and canned goods that came from areas affected by the African swine fever (ASF).

“We are appealing to the retailers to voluntarily pull out the goods from their display as part of preventing the spread of the ASF in our province,” Dr. Marco Rafael Ardamil, head of the Public Health Division of the Provincial Veterinary (ProVet) and member of the task force, said in an interview.

He cited Provincial Ordinance 242-2020 that prohibits “the carrying, transport, shipment distribution, storing, trading, marketing and sale of live pigs, boar semen, pork, and pork products including but not limited to canned goods and food items containing pork originated from, manufactured and or processed anywhere in the country and countries affected by ASF.”

Trade and Development specialist Glen Fernando, who is also part of the task force, said monitoring has been intensified, from once a month to weekly, in support of the campaign against ASF.

“We are monitoring the basic commodities that have pork ingredients,” Fernando said.

There are canned and frozen goods like tocino, chorizo, and ham that have pork ingredients manufactured in Luzon being supplied among retailers in Antique, he said.

ASF outbreaks have been reported in Luzon.

Retailers, he said, were asked to pull out the goods and to inform their suppliers that these are prohibited in the province.

"They are also being advised to put labels on their goods as to where these had been manufactured for easy identification," he said.

On Feb. 22 the province has put in place ASF quarantine checkpoints in the northern towns of Libertad and Pandan and in the southern town of Hamtic on Feb. 23.

“The northern and southern borders of Antique have now established checkpoints manned by ProVet, Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO), and police personnel,” Ardamil said.

However, instead of imposing fines, the task force only reprimanded delivery van drivers found to have violations and were prevented from unloading their products with pork ingredients from Luzon.

Authorities said this week is still considered part of their information drive to familiarize the public with the ordinance.

Ardamil said some delivery van drivers complained they were unaware of checkpoints or the prohibition on the entry of pork-based products from Luzon areas or other ASF-affected areas in the country to Antique.

Starting next week, pork products without proper documents will be seized and will be fined as provided for by Provincial Ordinance 242-2020 which was approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in December last year.

Section 11 of the ordinance states the violator will be fined not less than PHP1,000 but not to exceed PHP5,000 or imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than one year or both in the discretion of the court.

At checkpoints, traders and delivery vans are being asked to present their documents showing the source of the swine, slaughterhouse, and manufacturer for the processed food with pork ingredients.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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