TEMPORARY BAN ON POULTRY MEAT IMPORTS UP
As a precautionary measure, the Department of Agriculture has imposed a temporary ban on the importation of poultry meat from Brazil.
This was contained in a memorandum order, signed by Agriculture Secretary William Dar, on August 14, 2020, citing Section 10 of Republic Act 10611, or the Food Safety Act of 2013, which says: “in specific circumstances when the available relevant information use for in risk assessment is insufficient to show that a certain type of food or food product does not pose a risk to consumer health, precautionary measures shall be adopted.”
Several online news agencies have reported that SARS-COV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, was detected on chicken wings imported from Brazil, during a screening conducted in Longgang District of Shenzhen, in China.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that there are more than three million (3,109,630) COVID-19 confirmed cases in Brazil and 103,026 deaths, with a significant number of cases among workers in meat establishments.
The DA’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) have been monitoring COVID-19 related outbreaks in foreign meat establishments (FMEs). One of the primary considerations by the DA in the accreditation of FMEs for the importation of meat into the country is the health status of workers in compliance with good manufacturing practices (GMP).
With the recent reports from China and in compliance with the country’s Food Safety Act to regulate food business operators and safeguard Filipino consumers, the temporary ban on the import of chicken meat is imposed.
The DA assures the public that chicken products currently in the Philippine market are safe to eat, and strongly urges the public to verify sources of information, with either BAI or the NMIS for proper guidance.
Since this is a COVID-19 issue related to public health, workers engaged in meat establishments, poultry dressing plants, slaughterhouses, and meat processing plants, are required to report to the DOH any unusual sicknesses.
As part of national efforts to control COVID-19, the DA strongly recommends that poultry farm and slaughterhouse owners should consult their respective licensed veterinarians to observe farm biosafety and biosecurity measures.
The NMIS has issued guidelines and is monitoring the implementation of strategies to prevent and control the transmission of COVID-19 in meat establishments.