P.6-M meat from China seized in Subic port

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Port authorities here have confiscated some P600,000 worth of meat products that recently arrived from China, one of the countries affected by the dreaded African swine fever (ASF).

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Wilma T. Eisma said the meat shipment was seized after authorities learned it was shipped from Guangzhou, China.

“It was immediately flagged by the quarantine officer from the Department of Agriculture, and then the Bureau of Customs confiscated the shipment,” Eisma explained.

She said the confiscated meat will be immediately destroyed, as recommended by the Bureau of Quarantine Services, with the Bureau of Animal Industry disposing of it at the expense of the consignee.

Eisma said the Port of Subic has been on the lookout for pork products after the government called for strict monitoring in all ports to prevent the entry into the country of pork products contaminated with ASF.

According to Jerome Martinez, manager of the SBMA Seaport Department, the Chinese meat products were shipped in a refrigerated van aboard MV Hansa Altenburg, a container ship that arrived in Subic on May 27, 2019.

The container van was declared to contain 2,385 packages of “food items” that were consigned to a trading corporation based in Makati City. Martinez said the meat shipment had a dutiable value of P591,817.90. He added that the confiscated meat will be injected with chemicals and then buried underground.

The World Organization for Animal health (OIE) has declared ASF to be a highly-contagious hemorrhagic viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. Experts say that while ASF and classical swine fever (CSF) may have similar signs, the ASF virus is unrelated to the CSF virus.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week ordered the recall and seizure of imported pork meat products from countries suspected to be affected by the ASF virus. These are China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, and Belgium. (Dante M. Salvana)