By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has issued an advisory on Sunday that will guide local consumers on how to buy safe pork meat
The advisory was issued despite assurances from the city government that pork being sold in the local markets were free from the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.
She said, as an additional safeguard and to allay the public’s fears, an advisory to consumers on how to purchase safe meat was issued.
“As they say, being forewarned is forearmed. Dobleng pag-iingat at pagbabantay ang kailangan upang hindi tayo malusutan ng mga karneng may ASF at hindi malagay sa alanganin ang ating kalusugan (We have to be totally careful and always be on guard to ensure that no ASF tainted meat will sold that would risk public health),’’said Belmonte.
Belmonte asked local residents to “look for meat inspection certificates to ensure that meat being sold underwent thorough examination by meat inspectors’’.
In addition, Belmonte said consumers must also look for stamp from slaughterhouses as proof that meat slaughtered is healthy and fit for human consumption.
She called on consumers to report pork outlets selling meat without meat inspection certificates and proof from slaughterhouses with the City Veterinary Office (988-4242 loc 8036) for immediate confiscation and disposal.
“Kailangan ng lungsod ang tulong ng mga mamimili para matiyak na walang naibebentang karne sa mga palengke na may ASF. Huwag kayong mag-atubiling isumbong sa amin ang mga nagbebenta nang walang kaukulang papel (The city government needs the consumer’s help to ensure that no ASF tainted meat are sold in the market. Do not be hesitant to report to us anybody selling meat without the proper documentation),” she added.
Dr. Anamarie Cabel, head of the QC Veterinary Office, assured that all of the city’s major markets and slaughterhouses have 24-hour checkpoints to assure that meat being sold and slaughtered is safe.
Aside from checkpoints, Cabel added that meat inspectors are assigned in various markets and slaughterhouses to regularly check on the meat being sold and slaughtered.
Belmonte has also ordered the implementation of various safety measures to ensure that the pork being sold in markets is safe following the confirmation that several pigs from Barangays Payatas and Bagong Silangan were tested positive for ASF.
As part of the 1-7-10 protocol, she ordered the immediate culling of pigs from the two barangays.
The city government has allotted P10 million for the financial assistance to hog raisers who will voluntarily surrender their live pigs for culling.
Cabel warned that hog raiser who will refuse to have their pigs culled could be arrested and charged for violation of Sec. 103 in relation to Sec. 85 (f) of the Sanitation Code or “maintaining an animal stockage in a manner injurious to health.”
She explained those who “interfere with, hinder or oppose” government agents enforcing the Sanitation Code could face up to six months imprisonment
Hog raisers who refuse to cooperate could also be charged for violation of Sec. 38 in relation to relation to Sec. 37 of the Food Safety Act or handling or offering unsafe or banned food, which carries a penalty of six-month imprisonment.
“We call on our hog raisers to voluntarily surrender their hogs to avail of the local government’s financial assistance of P3,000 per pig,” said Belmonte.