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The FDA increases its list of banned pork suppliers

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of countries that are temporarily banned from exporting pork and pork products to the Philippines.

28 May 2019, at 1:03pm

According to reports, the FDA advisory has officially banned the importation of pork from a number of regions with confirmed cases of African swine fever (ASF). A new advisory has now issued the ban on imports from Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova and Belgium.

The Philippines is currently free of ASF and strict biosecurity regulations are in place but the importation of banned pork products into the country continues.

Previous bans

In September 2018, the Department of Agriculture (DA) issued a memorandum which required a ban on, and prevention of the entry of, processed pork products from 14 countries, including China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.

Since then, the importation of banned pork products has continued through issue permits but the DA has urged the FDA to crack down on the illegal importations and to stop issuing import clearances for banned products.

An emergency meeting, attended by officials of the Bureau of Customs at the DA Secretary's office, was held this month. According to reports, pork producers requested President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately order the creation of an Inter-Agency Task Force to handle the ASF threat to the country's P200-billion hog industry.

GMA News Online says that Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol reported the following agreements from the emergency meeting:

  • request an emergency meeting with the new Director General of the FDA, Dr Eric Domingo, to address the seeming lack of coordination and synchronisation of government efforts to address the ASF problem;
  • ask the FDA to request the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to implement an immediate recall from the market of all processed and canned pork since these are among the items included in the ban issued by the DA in August of 2018;
  • direct the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to monitor and inspect animal feed stores in the country to check for the presence of dog and cat food using hog-based meat and bone meal processed from ASF-affected countries;
  • engage private sector support in the deployment of additional "Deputised Quarantine Officers" to man the airports and ports to ensure that pork and pork products do not enter the country;
  • allow the immediate deployment of the trained K9 sniffers in the major ports and airports of entry; and
  • appeal to importers and traders to voluntarily refrain from importing pork and processed pork from ASF-affected and high-risk countries.