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DA: Cow leather exempted from imports ban
2019/1/31 16:07:37 Source: businessmirror.com.ph Author:By Jasper Y. Arcalas 点击率:
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Piglets suckle from a sow at a pig farm in Tianjin, China.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday said cow-leather imports are not banned in the Philippines, as the temporary ban imposed by the government covered only pig products from countries struck by the deadly African swine fever (ASF).

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol dismissed news reports that the memorandum orders he issued to authorize the ban on pig products also included cow leather. What was covered by the memos, he said, is leather of pig origin.

Piñol made the pronouncement after local news reports indicated that Pampanga acting governor Dennis Pineda asked the DA to exempt a local bag-manufacturing company from the import ban.

“DA Memorandum Orders No. 23 and 26, series of 2018 issued on January 25 banned the importation of domestic and wild pigs and their products as emergency measures to prevent the entry of ASF virus into the Philippines,” Piñol said in a Facebook post.

“ASF is a severe threat to the swine industry, and its introduction threatens food security and challenges the livelihood of pig producers,” he added.

Piñol advised importers to source their pig-skin leather requirements from ASF-free countries, as the virus could survive in hog’s skin or fat up to 300 days even if the product is dried.

Nonetheless, the DA is planning to send an inspection team to China to scrutinize tannery facilities and find out whether these facilities are compliant with international sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

“The Bureau of Animal Industry [BAI] is now conducting risk assessment on the introduction of ASF virus through the importation of leather products from China,” Piñol said.

“Also, BAI is considering sending an inspection team to China to visit the tannery facilities to check compliance with GMP [good manufacturing practice] and HACCP [Hazard analysis critical control points],” he added.

There is “no published treatment or vaccine” for ASF, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The OIE advises ASF-free countries to impose stringent import policies that would “ensure that neither infected live pigs nor pork products” enter their territories.

The DA had appealed to traders to avoid importing pork products from “high-risk” countries, or those near countries struck by ASF, such as Germany, to protect the local hog industry.

“I am asking importers to show their patriotism by ensuring that they do not import pork from high-risk countries,” Piñol told reporters in a recent news briefing in Quezon City.

“We cannot actually stop [importers], but we can only appeal to them. We are appealing to their sense of patriotism, as [the hog] industry involves millions of poor Filipino farming families,” he added.

Piñol also urged tourists, returning residents and overseas Filipino workers, to refrain from bringing in pork products as pasalubong, especially from ASF-affected countries.

He said the entry of ASF in the Philippines may jeopardize the government’s plan of shipping local meat to new markets abroad, such as Singapore.

The government has intensified its biosecurity measures to prevent the entry of ASF virus in the country. These include the installation of foot baths in all international land ports and seaports, as well as the mandatory inspection of luggage and shipments for pork products from ASF-affected countries.

Image Credits: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg

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