THE BUREAU of Customs (BoC) will be on the lookout for pork products potentially contaminated with African swine fever (ASF).
In a statement on Tuesday, the BoC said that it has alerted the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on the possible entry of contaminated pork products after receiving reports of their entry into South Korea and Japan late last year.
“To safeguard against the epidemic, Bureau of Animal Industry Officials and Port of NAIA District Collector Mimel M. Talusan initiated more briefings and information dissemination to Customs NAIA frontliners of Terminals 1, 2 and 3 to strengthen their vigilance against the African Swine Fever,” the statement read.
“Customs NAIA will continuously coordinate with regulating agencies to secure the borders against entry and exit of prohibited, regulated goods to protect the swine industry,” it added.
An inter-agency meeting between BoC-NAIA and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) was held on Jan. 7 to brief line officials on the possible entry of pork affected by the African Swine Fever Virus.
Countries that have reported cases of ASF include: China, Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.
In September and October 2018, cases of pork products contamination began surfacing in Southeast Asia after cases of contamination were recorded in South Korea and Japan in dumplings and sausage products.
According to the BAI, the Philippines has 40 million live hogs with a potential value of P2 billion.
The BoC said that only safe meat products accompanied by import permits or Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Import Clearances will be qualified for release from Customs. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan