Department of Agriculture Calabarzon Regional Executive Director Arnel de Mesa (Photo by Saul E. Pa-a)

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna – An official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Calabarzon assured consumers that it is safe to eat pork, amid the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) that caused pork prices to fall.

DA Calabarzon Regional Exec. Dir. Arnel de Mesa advised the public to always check on pork products that passed inspections and certified as safe by the DA’s National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).

“Gusto ko lang pong iparating na huwag po tayong matakot sa African Swine Fever dahil simula po ng 1907 nung madiscover ang ASF, wala ni isang tao na individual, manok, kambing, baka, kalabaw na nahawa ng ASF. Ibig sabihin, tanging baboy lang po ang nagkakasakit sa ASF (I want to relay this to the public that we should not be scared of the ASF because, since 1907 when the ASF was discovered, no individual person, chicken, goat, cow, carabao were contaminated with the ASF. This means the disease only affects the swine),” de Mesa said in an interview on the sidelines of the annual Gawad Saka Friday afternoon at the Bellevue Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

Though not harmful to humans, the disease is deadly to pigs. Prices of pork fell as consumers shifted to other meats.

“Gusto rin po naming ipaalam na kahit anong baboy na may sakit, hindi lang ASF, magkasakit sila ng ordinary cholera, pneumonia, hindi po 'yan dapat pinapakain sa tao. 'Yung malulusog na baboy lamang po ang ipapakain sa atin sa pamamagitan ng inspection ng NMIS. So, huwag po tayong matakot na kumain ng baboy (We also want to inform that any swine which is infected with any disease, not only the ASF, like ordinary cholera, pneumonia, is not fit for human consumption. Only pork meat that is declared healthy thru inspection by the NMIS is safe to eat. So don’t be afraid to consume pork),” he added.

In Calabarzon, he said the ASF situation has been contained and controlled. The ASF cases reported in Rodriguez, Rizal and in Antipolo City have been contained, he added.

He also said there was no latest report on the entry of the ASF-affected swine since the entry of contaminated hotdog, longganisa and tocino products were intercepted in Mindoro after they were shipped out as processed meat from Central Luzon.

“Dito sa atin sa Calabarzon, bukod doon sa Rizal province, at saka sa Dasmariñas City, Cavite, walang mga bagong kaso ngayon na mga ASF (here in Calabarzon, beside the case in Rizal province and the reported case in Dasmariñas City, Cavite, there are no new cases on the ASF),” de Mesa said.

The reported ASF case in Dasmariñas City was attributed to pigs that allegedly came from Quezon City, where cases of swill-feeding were reported.

De Mesa assured that the DA, in coordination with the Dasmariñas City government, is looking into the reported case of ASF as the city's zoning ordinance prohibits raising swine since it is not declared as an agricultural area.

He said once the affected swine has been depopulated, the hog raisers would be provided with alternative livelihoods. (PNA)