By Andrea Aro
The Department of Agriculture (DA) assured the public Tuesday that it is safe to eat pork amid the rise in hog deaths in some parts of Rizal and Bulacan provinces due to African Swine Fever (ASF).
“Pork is safe,” DA spokesperson Noel Reyes said in an interview with DZMM.
He added: “Hindi po transmissible ang ASF virus sa tao at sa iba pang hayop.” (The ASF virus is not transmissible to people and other animals.)
ASF virus causes hemorrhagic fever in pigs that almost always ends in death.
Authorities have culled more than 7,000 pigs to prevent the disease from spreading as there is no antidote or vaccine against the ASF.
Dead pigs were earlier seen floating in Marikina River and creeks in neighboring Quezon City.
Reyes added that improper disposal of dead pigs is punishable by law under the Animal Welfare Act and Solid Waste Management Act.
Authorities suspect the swine fever cases stemmed from backyard hog raisers who feed pigs “swill” or leftover food scraps from hotels and restaurants.
The agriculture department added that the virus could also be traced to smuggled frozen meat and returning overseas Filipino workers who brought back infected meat products.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health warned the public to cook pork thoroughly to avoid illnesses from raw meat.
Pork accounts for 60 percent of meat consumption in the country, the world’s 8th biggest pork producer by volume, and its swine industry estimated at ₧260 billion, the DA said. (With a report from Agence France-Presse)