DOH: Pork and processed pork products are safe to eat

Samples of hotdog, longganisa and tocino have been detected positive with African swine fever (ASF). Philstar.com photo

The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday, October 24, assured the public that eating pork products contaminated with African swine fever (ASF) does not affect human health.

“It is completely safe. It has no effect on human health. It is safe for human consumption,” said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

“Those threatened by (ASF) are only hogs, and not humans. ASF has no health hazards to humans,” he added.

Domingo, who also serves as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief, advised everyone to choose processed pork meat products with a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) as these products and the factories where they came from have been inspected by the FDA.

He added that FDA has not seen the Bureau of Animal Industry’s (BAI) report confirming that samples of hotdog, longganisa and tocino have been detected with the ASF viral DNA, but said they will look into the details of the laboratory findings.

“We want to know the specifics of the testing made, such as if they tested raw meat or slightly processed food only. Because meat processing, especially in high temperature, is supposed to kill viruses,” Domingo said.

DILG order will stay until further notice

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, meanwhile, said the order of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to local government units allowing the distribution of processed meat will remain for now despite some products testing positive for ASF.

He added that the DILG memorandum contains measures to prevent products with ASF from reaching consumers.

“There are conditions and requirements that should be complied with before transporting and selling of processed meat products are allowed,” Año said.

He also said they would impose stricter measures on processed meat contaminated with the virus, including intensified checkpoints and quarantine measures.

“This will ensure that all requirements and conditions are met on movement, transport and selling of processed meat products,” he added.

No product recalls

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan on Friday, October 25 said the department will not reveal the brands as well as recall their processed pork products reportedly contaminated with ASF.

“At this time it’s premature to name na ‘yun pong nakitaan na ‘yun ay contaminant na po siya o nakakahawa sa kapwa baboy (that the products that tested positive with the disease were contaminants),” he said during an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s “Headstart.”

“Wala po kaming any instruction or issuance na nagpapa-recall ng product (We don’t have any instructions yet to issue a recall of any product),” he added.

According to Cayanan, more tests are being conducted to validate the three brands of processed pork that tested positive for ASF. 

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