DUMAGUETE CITY – The quarantine officer of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in Negros Oriental on Monday warned the public against pork ham and other swine by-products that are manufactured and/or shipped to the province from areas affected by African swine fever (ASF).
Dr. Alfonso Tundag, who heads the BAI here, told the Philippine News Agency the public must be cautious in buying and consuming pork meat products as the Christmas season nears and holiday shoppers are beginning to stockpile food items for their celebrations.
Tundag said consumers must check the label first and see where the ham and other pork products are manufactured, even as he reassured that so far, they have not seized any smuggled raw or processed pork meat from areas with ASF cases.
The Central Visayas provinces of Negros Oriental, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor remain ASF-free to date, he noted.
A Cebu-based company is so far the only processed meat manufacturer which ham and other pork meat by-products are allowed in the province, he added.
While ham is technically considered “safe” because it is fully cooked and has passed/complied with the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the directive of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo to prohibit the entry of all kinds of pork meat and by-products to the province is still in effect, Tundag said.
Some companies have now shifted to the use of chicken meat instead of pork in their ham products, the BAI officer said. (PNA)