Pork is safe to eat, says Agri dept as swine fever outbreak abates

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2019 11:26 AM

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It is safe to eat pork, the Department of Agriculture said Tuesday, a day after announcing that it had contained an outbreak of African swine fever in parts of Rizal and Bulacan provinces.

The virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever in pigs that almost always ends in death, cannot be transmitted to humans and other animals, said DA Spokesperson Noel Reyes.

"Pork is safe," he told radio DZMM.

The health department has warned the public to cook pork thoroughly to avoid illnesses from raw meat.

Authorities earlier culled some 7,000 pigs to prevent the spread of the highly contagious African swine fever, for which there is no cure and no vaccine.

Dozens of dead pigs, however, were recently found floating in the Marikina River and sewers in neighboring Quezon City.

Those who dumped the hogs will face charges for violating the Animal Welfare Act and Solid Waste Management Act, said Reyes.

Pork accounts for 60 percent of meat consumption in the Philippines, the world's 8th biggest pork producer by volume, with its swine industry estimated at P260 billion, the DA earlier said.

Authorities suspect the swine fever cases stemmed from backyard hog raisers who feed pigs "swill", leftover food scraps from hotels and restaurants.

The agriculture department added the virus could also be traced to smuggled frozen meat and returning overseas Filipino workers who brought back infected meat products.

In May the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization said pork prices had "begun to soar", rising by up to 50 percent both in China and on the Chicago futures exchange.

With a report from Agence France-Presse