ILOILO – A total of 198 canned pork products seized from airline passengers at the Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan town have been disposed by the Bureau of Animal Industry’s (BAI) veterinary quarantine personnel.
These products were from Hong Kong and Singapore, areas hit by the African swine fever (ASF) virus.
The disposal was conducted in Barangay Inaladan, Cabatuan yesterday morning. BAI’s veterinary quarantine personnel were assisted by the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) and the Iloilo Airport’s aviation security personnel.
According to Dr. Darel Tabuada of the PVO, the cans were punctured with holes or opened then doused with two gallons of disinfectant before these were buried on the ground.
He assured the people of Barangay Inaladan of their safety.
The canned pork products have not been confirmed to have the ASF virus, said Tabuada, and their confiscation and destruction were just precautionary measures.
“Remember also that there is an ongoing ban on pork and pork byproducts from ASF-hit areas,” added Tabuada.
He then appealed to people returning home from abroad not to bring pork and pork byproducts as pasalubong or presents.
“Kay i-confiscate lang ina sang quarantine officers nga na-designate sa airport,” said Tabuada.
In September, Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. issued Executive Order No. 159 temporarily banning pork and its byproducts from Rizal and Bulacan provinces where ASF cases had been confirmed and ASF-hit countries such as China, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Belgium, Bulgaria, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Luxembourg, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, South Africa, Zambia, Hong Kong, and Mongolia “and from such other territories and localities, as identified and declared by the Department of Agriculture.”
According to the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), ASF is a highly contagious viral disease that affects pigs, warthogs and boars.
It causes pigs to have high fever and lose their appetite. It also causes hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs.
Death is certain. Pigs die in a span of two to 10 days upon affliction.
There is no known vaccine against ASF yet.
According to the NMIS, ASF is not considered a human health threat. However, humans can become carriers of the virus once tainted pork is ingested or if people get close to the infected meat.
The virus can also survive even if the meat has been processed or canned./PN