PH bans pork from Japan amid fears over swine fever

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 10) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has placed a temporary ban on the importation of pork and pork-based products from Japan, as swine fever spreads in the East Asian country.

In a statement Sunday, DA Secretary Manny Piñol said he had issued a verbal directive to the Bureau of Animal Industry to "immediately impose" the ban, following reports about the spread of the swine fever in Japan.

"A written formal directive will be issued shortly on the imposition of the Temporary Ban against the entry of pork and pork products from Japan which will be in effect while our Quarantine Officials are validating the reports with the OIE or the World Animal Health Organisation," the secretary said.

Piñol added that quarantine officers in entry ports across the Philippines are also directed to immediately impose the ban and review quarantine protocols, including foot baths and the monitoring of meat products brought by tourists.

News reports say the epidemic is affecting several prefectures in Japan, with over 100 wild boars testing positive for the virus and some 15,000 pigs expected to be culled.

The BIA in January also banned the entry of pork and pork-based products from countries affected by African swine fever such as China, Hungary, Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, and Zambia.

In 2007, classical swine fever spread in Pampanga and Bulacan, affecting about 4,000 pigs.

Though the fever poses no direct and immediate danger to human health, its spread may threaten the hog industry, with major potential impact on supplies and prices. The disease, which has no vaccine or cure, was first detected in Asia in 2018 in an area in Siberia, according to the UN.