Purefoods hotdog, ham maker says products swine fever-free, safe to eat

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 25 2019 03:56 PM | Updated as of Oct 25 2019 05:56 PM

MANILA -- Purefoods-Hormel's pork products are free from African swine fever and "safe to eat," parent San Miguel Foods said Friday.

The maker of Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs and Fiesta Hams for Christmas said its products "are cooked in high temperatures ensuring safety from harmful organisms."

Farms that supply pork for Purefoods products "observe the highest biosecurity measures" and imported pork come from ASF-free countries, San Miguel Foods said.

"San Miguel Foods, which carries the Purefoods brand remains fully committed to the highest standards of quality and food safety in all our products," it said.

The Philippines, the world's 10th largest consumer of pork and 7th biggest importer, culled some 7,000 pigs to prevent the spread of the disease, which is fatal to hogs but not harmful to humans.

President Rodrigo Duterte's office issued a statement late on Thursday seeking a concerted government effort to manage, contain and control the disease that is also present in China and other Asian countries.

The ASF outbreak in the Philippines results in P1 billion in "opportunity losses" each month for the local hog industry, said Noel Reyes, spokesman for the Department of Agriculture.

The retail price of some premium Christmas food items like ham will likely increase, as higher manufacturing costs offset lower pork prices due to the ASF outbreak, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez. said.

Prices of cheaper brands will likely remain steady as manufacturers move to keep customers, he said.

Manufacturing costs rose 30 to 60 percent, which could push the prices of premium fare for Noche Buena by 2 to 9 percent. Some traders also imported meat requirements for Christmas hams, he said.

Pampanga-based Mekeni Food Corp said it was validating reports that some of its products tested positive for African swine fever, as it apologized to consumers for the "panic" caused by the news.

The reported swine fever contamination was "unexpected" given Mekeni's International Organization for Standardization certification, it said.

Mekeni president Prudencio Garcia said the facilities of rival meat processors should also be checked.

"We welcome and we encourage it na puntahan kami dito... We are available, wala naman pong problema sa amin 'yan," he said.

(We welcome and we encourage inspectors to come visit us... We are available. We have no problem with that.)