Manufacturers: Local processed meat 'safe' amid African swine fever scare

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 01 2019 06:32 PM

MANILA - A group of processed meat manufacturers assured consumers Saturday that locally-processed meat is safe to consume. 

This, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned and ordered a recall last week of canned goods imported from countries affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak. 

In a statement, the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. said their products "do not contain meat materials from countries infected with African Swine Fever." 

PAMPI president Felix Tiukinhoy reiterated that canned goods produced in the Philippines are locally sourced and that their meat does not come from imported pork. 

He said most of their member companies import meat products but only from the United States, Canada, and countries in Europe that are not affected by the swine flu. 

"We import from States, Canada, and some countries in Europe but all of these countries have no African Swine Fever," he told ABS-CBN News. 

"We don't have enough supply coming from our local producers at ang (and the) local producers cannot give the specs (specifications) we want. They are good for the local market for the table market but as far as the food processors kasi we import with the specifications that we want," he added. 

Tiukinhoy urged the FDA to specify which brands are part of the ban after issuing an "unclear" pronouncement - a move he regards as "irresponsible." 

"It's a general statement na irerecall, iwi-withdraw, wala silang sinasabi na kung ano 'yung brands o kung ano 'yung canned products na gusto nila i-withdraw," he said. 

(It's a general statement to recall, withdraw, they did not say which brands or which canned products they want to withdraw.)

"It's not fair for us just to make those statements. To me it's irresponsible," he said. 

Reports say countries affected by ASF are culling their pigs, with millions of pigs recorded dead in some countries in an attempt to exterminate the disease. 

Authorities in the Philippines first imposed a temporary ban on meat from China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. It later on barred Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, and Belgium from bringing in pork meat to the Philippines.