CLARK FREEPORT — In a bid to contain the deadly hog virus in the countryside, the National Meat Inspection Service is seeking the help of local government units by way of monitoring public slaughterhouses in their respective areas in Central Luzon.
“With the help of different LGUs, consumers will be assured of safe meats being sold in the market. Local veterinarian offices must check the sanitary condition of public slaughterhouses,” said NMIS director Orlando Ongsoto.
He added that local meat inspectors have been deputized by the NMIS due to the lack of personnel to cover the workload. “We only have 200 meat inspectors and 6 veterinarians for the entire region 3.”
Ongsoto discouraged the old practice of backyard slaughter as it has legal sanctions. “They will be criminally liable for selling without the meat inspection certificate.”
Ongsoto said no hogs will be slaughtered and sold in the market without the Meat Inspection Certificate, displayed conspicuously by meat vendors to inform consumers that pork being sold is not afflicted by hog virus.
“Only private slaughterhouses with class AA and class AAA has meat inspection certificate issued by the NMIS. Government slaughterhouses must be checked by the local government units,” said Ongsoto during October edition of the Pampanga Press Club Kapihan held at the Widus Hotel and Casino here.
He added that only 17 privately-owned slaughterhouses in region 3 have double AA standards including eight in Bulacan which was shut down after ASF swept the province’s hog farms. Three in Pampanga (San Simon and Porac towns and Mabalacat City) and one each in Olongapo-Zambales areas, Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has earlier quarantined two provinces in Central Luzon due to reported ASF cases in the region. However, the so-called 1-7-10 protocol has been initiated to prevent the spread of hog fever and contain it within the “ASF positive areas.
Meanwhile, the NMIS will hold a meat safety consumers week this October to promote that pork being sold in the market are safe for human consumption. Activities have been lined up for such event.