OFWs warned against sending pork products to PH

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MANILA—Philippine Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has urged overseas Filipino workers in countries with the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) to avoid bringing or sending pork products, including the popular Ma Ling luncheon meat, to the Philippines because these might lead to the spread of the dreaded ASF.

Piñol noted that Hong Kong was now among the areas that have confirmed ASF cases. Hong Kong’s first ASF case was reported on May 17, leading to the culling of 6,000 pigs in a slaughterhouse in Sheung Shui.

“Cambodia and Hong Kong are now included in the list of areas affected by the African Swine Fever,” Piñol said in a Facebook post.

The agriculture chief warned that people who bring potentially infected pork back from countries with ASF can face a fine of ₱200,000.

“A penalty of P200,000 imposed on violators…please share so that everybody will know,” he added.

Besides Hong Kong and Cambodia, the other areas that have ASF include Vietnam, Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, Zambia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Romania, China, and Mongolia. based on the list from the Food and Drug Administration.

To emphasize his point, Piñol on Monday urged the FDA to order the removal from grocery stores, supermarkets, and other retailers of pork products like Ma Ling that were manufactured from August 2018 onwards because they may have ASF.

He noted that the ban on pork products from countries affected by ASF took effect on August 2018 and “any other products shipped in after that should be recalled from the market”.