Negros Occ. ports keep eye on meat products

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) has strengthened protocols in monitoring the entry of meat products amid fears of the African swine fever (ASF).

PVO head Dr. Renante Decena said they managed to “hold” several meat products from passengers last week.

Decena said they always look for documents for those transporting meat products such as the Certificate of Meat Inspection and Shipping permits.

In line with their monitoring, Decena said they have assigned PVO personnel in the ports of Bacolod, Escalante, and San Carlos.

To further combat ASF, Decena said one of the solutions they are currently studying is a proposal to improve the meat processing capability of local hog raising associations.

The PVO head pointed out that improved meat processing capabilities means importing meat products in the province will no longer be necessary, and the products being sold to consumers are safe.

Last month, the PVO formed a task force to handle swine flu and is also regulating the sale of frozen meat throughout Negros Occidental.

The provincial office also ordered the market pullout of all pork products from China.

Among the brands identified are Narcissus, Heaven Temple, Ma Ling, Shabu Shabu, Sol Primo, Wang Taste of Korea, Highway, Sky Dragon, and Weilin.

Based on studies conducted by veterinarians outside the Philippines, the infection is believed to be from ornithodoros, a type of soft-bodied tick.

Hogs are infected after they are bitten by the tick, which then contaminates their blood.

The virus has no effect on humans but there is a need for strict monitoring at airports and seaports in order to prevent the virus from entering the country.

The PVO monitored the entry of meat products in the province after the Department of Agriculture announced they have recorded several “suspicious” deaths of hogs in some areas of the country.