Amid swine fever alert, 2 containers of pork products from China seized at Manila port

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2019 05:08 PM | Updated as of Oct 26 2019 05:56 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Two containers of pork and other meat products from African swine fever-hit China were seized at the Manila port earlier this week, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Saturday.

The containers were misdeclared to be bearing tomato paste and vermicelli, Agriculture Secretary William Dar told reporters.

Upon inspection, authorities discovered pork meat, dimsum, dumplings, pecking duck, among other products.

"The apprehended items were stopped in reefer (refrigerator) containers, with temperature setting at -18 Celsius, obviously indicating that the goods kept therein are not what they were declared to be," he said.

The cargo was consigned to Jeniti International Trading in Binondo, Manila, Dar said.

The Bureau of Customs has yet to determine the value of the seized goods, while the Bureau of Animal Industry will test samples from the products for ASF, he added.

The Philippines, the world's 10th largest consumer of pork and 7th biggest importer, has banned the entry of pork from countries affected with the hog disease.

These include China, including Hong Kong, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, North Korea, Laos, Latvia, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Cases of ASF have been recorded in some parts of the country, with the outbreak costing P1 billion in "opportunity losses" each month for the local hog industry, Department of Agriculture Noel Reyes earlier said.

While not harmful to humans, ASF is fatal to pigs and some 7,000 hogs have been killed in the Philippines to prevent its spread.