POSITIVE FOR ASF. Customs authorities on Saturday (Jan. 25, 2020) ordered the condemnation of pork products from China which tested positive for African swine fever (ASF). The shipment arrived in the country on December 11 last year from China was put under an Alert Order for suspicion of containing misdeclared items. (Photo courtesy of BOC Public Information Office)

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Saturday ordered the condemnation of processed meat products from China that tested positive for African swine fever (ASF).

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, in a statement, said the examination of the contents of the container on January 22 revealed that the shipment containing pork balls and dumplings at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) were tested positive for ASF based on laboratory tests results from the port’s Veterinary Quarantine Services.

The shipment, consigned to Dynamic M International Trading Inc., arrived on December 11 last year from China was put under an Alert Order for suspicion of containing misdeclared items.

Customs Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Raniel Ramiro recommended the shipment for examination, which was witnessed by the Bureau of Animal Industry, the National Meat Inspection Service, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Customs Enforcement and Security Service, and the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Services.

“This is a message to all importers. We are not going to tolerate misdeclared goods or the importation of food products that will put our industries in jeopardy. We’ve already lost so much because of the swine flu. Our ports are not open for more of these products,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero also ordered Customs personnel in all ports to exercise vigilance especially now that the country is on the lookout against the novel coronavirus (nCoV).

“Our mandate is to protect our people and that’s what we intend to do,” he added.

The bureau is set to file charges against the company as the shipments seized violated Sections 1400, 1113, and 117 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, RA 3720 or the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and RA 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 and will recommend the revocation of its brokers’ licenses.

Dr. Reynaldo Quilang, Veterinary Quarantine Services chief, has recommended that all contents of the container be buried at the importer’s warehouse compound.

The condemnation of goods will be conducted after finalizing the disposal plan.

ASF spreads easily among members of the swine family through direct contact with the infected animal or contaminated objects such as vehicles and equipment.

In October last year, at least 13 provinces in the Philippines have declared an ASF outbreak, prompting some local government to ban the entry of pork products from areas that have confirmed cases of the disease.

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