Oct 27, 2020

BAI intensifies airport monitoring vs African swine fever

The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has intensified its monitoring of imported meat products entering Palawan through the Puerto Princesa City International Airport (PPCIA), amidst fear of the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF),

The BAI said they confiscate sausages, fresh pork, chicken meat, boiled eggs, and other meat products that lack meat permits from their agency.

Elma Soriano, BAI livestock inspector, said most of the meat products they confiscate come from Incheon, Korea, which has a daily flight to Palawan, and Taipei, Taiwan that has a twice weekly flight.

“Yong mga sausages kasi parang pagkain lang nila, siguro hindi nauubos, nabibili lang nila doon, dinadala lang nila rito. Wala sila kasing documents, sanitary permits na maipapakita. ‘Yon ang advice sa amin, kung walang papel, confiscated na siya,” Soriano said Wednesday.

Records of the BAI in Palawan showed that in January, it seized 34 sausage packs; 24 packs in February; 22 packs in March; 2.5 kilograms in April; 10.5 kilograms in May; and 11 packs with 44 pieces in June.

Boiled eggs from Incheon, Korea, were also seized — 35 pieces in January; 88 pieces in February; 32 pieces in March; 7 pieces in April; 4 packs (130 grams) and 7 pieces in May; and 49 pieces in June.

A total of eight kilos of fresh pork and chicken meat were seized in January; 10 kilograms in February; 4 kilograms in March; 9.4 kilograms in May; and 2.8 kilograms in June.

The agency also confiscated one pack of Spam in June; eight kilograms of pork ham in January and four cans of canned meat in May.

Soriano said they are strengthening the confiscation of meat and meat products because ASF might enter the country.

ASF was monitored by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Moldova.

Soriano said these confiscated meat and meat products are buried to prevent the spread of the virus.

Tourists are advised that there is a ban on meat and meat products from their countries of origin.

“Nirarason nila na hindi naman sila ano ng ASF, advised na rin sila na merong ganoon hindi ko lang alam kung bakit may dala pa rin sila and ‘yong mga agent nila nandito sa Puerto, sinasabihan din namin. Hindi rin daw nila maiwasan na may mga dala silang ganito,” she said.

Soriano also said there were many instances that tourists understand the advisory even if they don’t understand the language.

They are thankful that there are translators in the airport, she said.

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