The country’s largest group of meat processors assured consumers that locally-processed meat products such as canned meat and hot dogs do not contain raw materials from countries infected by the African Swine Fever (ASF).
The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. issued the statement on Saturday, June 1, following the nationwide campaign of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to recall processed meat products purportedly imported from ASF-infected countries.
PAMPI president Felix Tiukinhoy said most of the ASF-infected countries do not export meat products to the Philippines. He urged the FDA to be cautious and specific in its pronouncements because it is causing confusion and uncertainty among consumers.
“Recall orders should be product specific, identifying the brands and countries of origin, instead of general statements that are not helpful to consumers but are prejudicial to local manufacturers,” Tiukinhoy said.
Tiukinhoy, who is also the president of Virginia Foods Inc., issued the assurance following a nationwide campaign of the FDA to recall processed meat products purportedly imported from ASF-infected countries.
ASF is a fatal animal disease affecting pigs with up to 100-percent mortality, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. It is not harmful to humans but causes deadly hemorrhagic fever in domesticated pigs and wild boar.
The FDA, in an order last week, directed all importers, distributors, retail outlets, and other dealers of processed pork products from ASF-hit countries to immediately implement the recall. The FDA recall includes canned goods like luncheon meat and processed pork—such as Ma Ling from China.
Violators would be prosecuted for offenses under Republic Act 9711 or the FDA Act and Republic Act 10611 or the Food Safety Act.
The FDA have identified 16 ASF affected countries as of last week. These are China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova and Belgium
The Philippines remains unaffected by ASF. But hog raisers in the country, worried on the possibility that the disease might enter the country, urged DA to implement more restricted importation. They asked the DA to expand the temporary suspension to also cover high-risk countries.
The local meat processing industry produces more than P300 billion in sales annually and provides direct and indirect jobs to 300,000 Filipinos, said PAMPI.