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Zambo remains ASF-free

ZAMBOANGA CITY REMAINS free from the African swine fever (ASF) virus which is fatal to hogs as the local government continues its tight watch on the entry of processed pork products and meat to protect the local hog industry.

Mayor Beng Climaco said random and surprised inspection in public markets and grocery stores, barter trade centers and supermarkets continue here to ensure that no canned pork products, particularly those imported from countries where ASF had been reported.

She said the Task Force Karne and the Food and Drugs Administration and the Department of Agriculture were conducting inspections as part of the strict implementation of the Executive Order 500-2019 and the national ban on the importation, distribution and sale of all processed pork products from countries infected with the ASF such as China.

Workers roast pig in Zamboanga town of Sindangan. (Zamboanga Post)

The task force is comprised of representatives from City Veterinary Office, National Meat Inspection Service, Task Force Ordinance, and Business Permits and Licensing Division. Climaco said strict protocols will be observed to monitor and regulate the entry of hog and pork products here as a measure against the contagious animal disease.

The Department of Agriculture said the first ASF outbreak started on July 25 in mostly backyard pigs in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan and then spread elsewhere in Luzon.

Dr. Arnedo Agbayani, Assistant Zamboanga City Veterinarian, said live hogs and pork products that do not have proper paperwork and certification will not be allowed entry. “These requirements include the health certificate and the veterinarian shipping permit, a document which all city and provincial veterinarians have been directed to provide in light of the ASF scare in Luzon,” Agbayani said.

Agbayani said they have set up checkpoints in entry and exit points in Zamboanga to ensure that no infected hogs and its pork products slip past the city. “If may napapansin kayong nagbebenta, please don’t hesitate to report to us immediately because this is one source of infection of ASF, itong mga canned and processed pork products,” he said.

The FDA in May has ordered the pull-out from the markets of all processed pork products such as luncheon meat imported from Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, Zambia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

AFS is a large, double-stranded DNA virus in the Asfarviridae family. The virus is transmitted to pigs through direct contact with infected pigs, their waste, contaminated clothing, feed, equipment and vehicles, and in some cases, some tick species. Although ASF cannot be transmitted to humans through contact with pigs or pork, the virus causes a haemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in domestic pigs; some isolates can cause death of animals as quickly as a week after infection. (Zamboanga Post)


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