DOH seeks more info on 'virus-tainted' pork products

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2019 11:56 AM

MANILA — The Department of Health is seeking more information on the Bureau of Animal Industry's supposed report that 3 pork products tested positive for African swine fever.

A group of hog raisers claimed the agriculture department, which oversees BAI, has confirmed that 3 brands of tocino, hotdogs and longganisa were positive for the virus, without disclosing additional details.

The virus dies in high temperatures used for processing meat, noted DOH Spokesperson and Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

"Kaya nga po gusto kong malaman kung anong tinest nila, baka hilaw na karne po ito o ito ay slightly processed food lamang," he told radio DZMM.

(This is why I want to know what they tested, maybe it was just raw meat or slightly processed food only.)

"We want to coordinate with them para po iyong ating communication, messaging e pare-pareho, accurate at hindi po nakakagulat masyado, nakakatakot lalo na kung ganito pong wala namang threat to human health," he added.

(We want to coordinate with them so that our communication, messaging will be similar, accurate and not cause panic or alarm, especially in cases like this where there really is no threat to human health.)

Domingo reiterated that eating pork is "completely safe" because African swine fever does not affect humans despite causing hemorrhagic fever in pigs that almost always ends in death.

"Wala po dapat ikatakot at all ang mga kumain ng produktong ito dahil sa kalusugan po ng tao, wala talaga siyang epekto," he said.

(Those who eat these products have nothing to fear because ASF has no effect on human health.)

An outbreak of the African swine fever in parts of Rizal and Bulacan provinces has prompted authorities to cull around 7,000 hogs.

Pork accounts for 60 percent of meat consumption in the Philippines, the world's 8th biggest pork producer by volume, with its swine industry estimated at P260 billion, the Deparment of Agriculture earlier said.

Authorities suspect the swine fever cases stemmed from backyard hog raisers who feed pigs "swill", leftover food scraps from hotels and restaurants.

The agriculture department added the virus could also be traced to smuggled frozen meat and returning overseas Filipino workers who brought back infected meat products. With a report from Agence France-Presse