MANILA – If reports are true and verified that several processed meats have tested positive for African swine fever (ASF) virus, then the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture should identify these brands and immediately remove them from the market, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said Thursday.
“Ito ang mag-aalis sa takot ng publiko na kumalat ang mga produktong ito at sa posibilidad na makain ito (This will allay fears of the public on the spread of these products and on the possibility of consumption),” said the former Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.
Reacting to a news report that samples taken from hotdog, longganisa, and tocino imported by a Manila-based company tested positive for ASF virus, Pangilinan also suggested naming the specific brands, manufacturers, and contaminated products. He said this will inform the public of those that have been certified safe for public use.
“Maging aral sana ito sa mga kinauukulan na mas maging istrikto sa pag-monitor at pag-test ng mga imported na pagkain. Pagkain ito. Kailangang ligtas at mabuti sa kalusugan ang kinakain natin (Let this incident of ASF-infected products slipping past our borders be a lesson to authorities to implement stricter checks of imported meat products. This is food. We should only eat safe and nourishing food),” Pangilinan said.
ASF, a fatal animal disease among hogs, is now present in seven areas in Luzon — namely Cavite, Quezon City, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Rizal — killing over 62,000 hogs so far.
“Walang saysay ang ginagawang pagpatay sa mga baboy natin kung meron namang ASF na makakapasok sa ating bayan at mapupunta sa ating mga hapag-kainan (Local efforts to stop the spread of the ASF such as culling of pigs would be futile if the ASF, in another form, would easily get in the country and land on our dinner table),” Pangilinan said.
He highlighted the fact that hog raisers are already hurting from the massive slaughter of their livelihood.
“A consolidated effort is needed to combat this disease. Together with the private sector, DA, DTI, Department of Health through the Food and Drug Administration, and the Bureau of Customs, should play their part in stopping this animal disease that is affecting our everyday food, our nutrition, and our health,” Pangilinan said.