The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) temporarily banned the distribution of pork meat products, including the meatloaf brand Ma Ling, from countries affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF).
According to Memorandum 2019-048, the FDA directed all importers, distributors, retail outlets, and other dealers “to immediately recall all pork meat products imported from countries suspected to be affected by ASF virus.” The ASF-affected countries are China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, and Belgium.
As defined by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the African Swine Fever is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar, and American wild pigs. It is caused by DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family which causes high fever, loss of appetite, hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs, and death in 2-10 days of the affected pigs.
Although ASF is not considered as a human health threat, FDA still advised the public to be cautious in consuming processed pork meat products from the said countries.
“The public is advised to exercise extreme caution in purchasing and consuming processed pork meat products and is advised to only consume processed pork meat products which are sourced from countries other than the above listed countries suspected to be affected by ASF virus,” FDA said.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol earlier asked the FDA to remove canned meat products such as Ma Ling (a product from China) as these may be contaminated with the virus.
He also said that incoming that those found violating the ban could be fined P200,000 under the Food Security Act.
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