By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Department of Agriculture (DA) will close its doors on imported pork products from Germany — one of the Philippines’ top suppliers of affordable raw pork material — as part of the country’s anti-African Swine Fever (ASF) measures.
This makes the Western European country the first country banned from exporting pork to the Philippines. Germany still remains free from the deadly hog disease, but is close to countries under ASF list.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) on late Wednesday has issued a memorandum order temporarily suspending the importation of pork and other pork products coming from Germany.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the move was a result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau Animal Industry (BAI) following the confiscation of a shipment of pork supposedly coming from Germany which included 250 kilos of pork from Poland.
Poland is one of the 18 countries with reported outbreak of ASF, a deadly hog disease which has no vaccine or cure. But while Germany is not included on the ASF list, it is contiguous with Poland and is therefore considered a “high risk” area.
Last week, more than 600 kilos of pork products from Belgium and Poland — two countries infected by ASF since last year — have entered the country legally with just enough permits to pass through the Cebu port.
To be specific, 26 boxes of frozen pork have entered Cebu port, 260 kilos of which came from Poland and 370 kilos came from Belgium.
Based on its investigation, BAI found out that the ones that came from Poland was actually part of a shipment that came from Pro Food GmbH, a company based in Germany.
Pro Food, an international trading company that import and export meat and meat products, seafood and vegetables, eventually admitted that it imported pork from Poland and part of this was shipped to the Philippines.
The company has an office here and in other countries, namely China, Netherlands, France, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil and South Africa.
BAI Director Ronnie Domingo said Pro Food has committed a serious violation, which warranted the suspension of entry of all pork shipments from Germany.
This brings to 19 the total number of countries which are not allowed to ship pork and pork products to the Philippines.