MANILA (UPDATE) - Northern Mindanao has culled nearly 1,500 pigs due to African swine fever, an agriculture official said Wednesday.
Carlene Collado, regional director of the Department of Agriculture in Northern Mindanao, said the disease had affected the livelihood of over 400 backyard hog raisers.
"As of February, ang total na-cull natin ay 1,467 na hogs, affecting 406 farmers," he told Teleradyo.
One-third of the affected hogs came from Misamis Oriental. The disease is harmless to humans but is deadly to pigs and there is no vaccine or cure.
Collado said this wouldn't affect the supply it would be sending to Metro Manila, which would come from commercial hog farms.
On Monday, the DA and Northern Mindanao Hog Raisers Association shipped in a ceremonial sendoff 580 hogs to boost supply in the capital region.
'MUST BE STOPPED'
Some 4 villages in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental were hit by ASF. These are Barangays San Simon and Mambuaya in Cagayan de Oro, Barangay Jampason in Initao town, and Barangay Pagawan in Manticao town in Misamis Oriental.
Local hog producers are wary that if DA fails to control the spread of ASF in Mindanao, this will significantly affect the volume of hogs being brought to Metro Manila.
"Mindanao supplies 25 to 30 percent of pork in the Philippines so the spread of ASF must be stopped or else we will see further shortage in pork supply. [CDO and Misamis Oriental] are near Zamboanga City, South Cotabato where there are a lot of backyard hog raisers and commercial raisers," Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc Vice President Nicanor Briones said in Filipino.
Bureau of Animal Industry director Dr. Reildrin Morales said the ASF in these areas would not affect the supply in Metro Manila.
"We are looking at an incursion from the remaining circulating virus in Iligan that caused the ASF in Misamis Oriental," he said in Filipino.
"The ASF in the area may not affect the sending of hogs in Metro Manila because most of them are from Bukidnon. Iligan, 4 areas in Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon are high areas so we have national geographic barrier."
'IMPORTED FROZEN MEAT
Reports have reached the National Meat Inspection Service that more vendors have shifted from selling freshly slaughtered pig to selling imported frozen meat because of the shortage of supply and the recently imposed price cap on pork and chicken.
NMIS National Capital Region Enforcement head Dr. Jude Padasas and representatives from DA went around 2 public markets and a supermarket Tuesday to check the stalls.
Some vendors failed to show meat inspection certificate, which is given on a daily basis to prove that the animals or pig was disease-free before it was slaughtered.
"All meat vendors must display their MIC. Without MIC, their products will be tagged as hot meat or meat that did not go through inspection. Hot meat is unsafe to eat," Padasas said in Filipino.
The team also issued notices of violation to 6 stalls for mishandling the meat.
Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 6 series of 2012 states that “frozen meat shall be sold from display freezers and/or chest freezers that maintain product temperature at a maximum of 0°C or lower."
The order also stated that “chilled meat shall be displayed in supermarkets or other meat markets whole or cut and/or pre-packaged in refrigerated display chillers and/or insulated chest coolers with ice or frozen gel packs, and other similar devices for chilling product.”
The marketing head of one wet market explained that vendors had no choice but to shift to frozen meat since they were not able to secure stable and adequate supply of local pork.
The NMIS gave the stall owners leeway to provide their stalls with freezers and chillers but said by next week the enforcers will start confiscating meat being displayed and sold at room temperature.
- With a report from April Rafales, ABS-CBN News