DA chief bans hog products from South China province

MANILA, Aug. 4 (PNA) — Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala ordered a temporary ban on the importation of hog products from Jiangsu, China following a confirmed report of foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Zhoutang village in Yingtan.

Under the Memorandum Order No. 13, Series of 2014, Alcala directed the immediate suspension of the processing, evaluation of applications and issuance of import permits for hog products.

DA veterinary quarantine officers/inspectors in all major ports were also directed to confiscate and stop FMD-prone animals from Jiangsu and their by-products from entering the country.

The restriction serves as proactive measure to protect the health of the local livestock population which remains FMD-free.

Dr. Zhang Zhonqui of China Animal Disease Control Center validated the report saying FMD virus infected a piggery farm located in Lianghong Company, Sihong, Suquian, Jiangsu, China.

Zhonqui said the FMD Virus Serotype A outbreak was confirmed in Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) reference laboratory thru ELISA and virus isolation.

BAI-Quarantine Service, meanwhile, said no accredited Chinese hog product importers yet at present mainly due to FMD, hence no import permits could be issued for the commodity.

BAI Assistant Director Dr. Simeon Amurao said the ban is in addition to the existing ban on the importation of fresh, frozen and processed meat and live animals susceptible to FMD from China due the presence of the disease in other parts of China.

As to the order to quarantine officers at all ports, Amurao said, all frozen meat and susceptible live animals from China will be confiscated for immediate disposal or destruction.

He noted that even if the outbreak has been controlled, the import ban is not automatically lifted.

The Philippines takes pride as the only FMD-free country in Southeast Asia.

Alcala earlier challenged the local hog producers to prepare for and take advantage of our quality status on the upcoming ASEAN free trade come 2015. (PNA)