THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it has banned imports of domestic and wild pig products, including semen, from China, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine due to an African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.
The ban also suspends the processing, evaluation of the application and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) import clearances for products from these countries; the confiscation of all shipments by DA Veterinary Quarantine Officers at all major ports; and the confiscation of all meat products brought in by travelers from these countries.
In a separate memorandum, Mr. Piñol also ordered a prohibition on the use of swill from catering operations at all airports for use as swine feed.
Reuters reported on Saturday that the outbreak has spread to Bulgaria.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mr. Piñol said that he will meet with representatives of the livestock and poultry sector.
“I have just signed an order banning the entry of pork products, that’s why on Monday, I have some of the members of the livestock and the poultry sector over for talks because we really have to prepare for this,” Mr. Piñol said.
“We would like to encourage our local hog raisers to produce more and we will help them by establishing farm activities which will be supported by the Department of Agriculture,” Mr. Piñol added.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the total domestic population of swine is 12.78-million head as of the end of the first half, up 1.86% from a year earlier.
The top five regions producing swine are Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Northern Mindanao, PSA said.
Humans cannot be affected by ASF, but the disease has the potential to devastate commercial herds. It is contagious among animals, causing sudden death and abortions in pregnant sows, according to the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University.
“ASF is often introduced into a herd by the feeding of uncooked or undercooked garbage (swill) containing contaminated pork products. Once infected, the virus is easily spread between pigs by direct contact or indirectly from contact with contaminated objects, such as vehicles, equipment, footwear, or clothing,” the institution said. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio