The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is kicking into high gear its ban on the China-manufactured luncheon meat Maling and has said that it will pull out cans of it and other processed pork meat from the market.
In an advisory released yesterday but dated May 27, the FDA reiterated its temporary ban on the importation, distribution, and sale of all processed pork meat products from countries suspected to be affected by the African swine fever (ASF) virus. Based on an FDA order from September last year, these countries include those from China, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine.
In its advisory yesterday, the FDA also added nine more countries in the temporary ban namely, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, and Belgium.
But it’s difficult to take pork-loving Filipinos away from their favorite canned luncheon meats. In a statement posted on Facebook yesterday, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol urged the FDA to ban and pull out Maling from store shelves.
The DA, together with hog farmers asked the FDA to stop issuing clearances and to order the immediate market pull out of processed pork products from countries affected by the ASF, including Maling.
Piñol said that their reminder comes after an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) returning from Hong Kong was found to have brought cans of Maling to the country. Quarantine Officers intercepted the package but Piñol said that broadcaster Raffy Tulfo “used his influence” to have the Bureau of Customs return the confiscated cans to the OFW after she turned to Tulfo’s radio program to complain.
“[The incident] brought to the attention of the DA that while a ban and cut off date for the entry of processed pork products from China was issued last year, the FDA continued issuing permits to allow importers to bring in the banned products,” the DA’s statement reads.
FDA Officer-in-Charge Eric Domingo confirmed to The Philippine Daily Inquirer in a text message that Maling is indeed part of the ban.
“Yes [Maling is covered by the ban]. The FDA regulatory board will go around and inspect. We also ask the public to report any sightings [of these banned products] to the FDA,” he said.
Domingo ordered to pull out the banned processed pork from the market and said that they will be kept in a padlocked area so that they can’t be sold, according to CNN Philippines.
Citing the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the FDA said that ASF is “a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar, and American wild pigs.”
Affected pigs can experience high fever, loss of appetite, hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs, and death in two to 10 days on average. While ASF is not a human health threat, it can cause major economic loss to swine industries.