DA bans entry of pork from Japan due to African Swine Fever scare

(Eagle News) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is banning the entry of pork and other pork products from Japan following reports that African Swine Fever (ASF) is feared to be spread there.

Agriclture Secretary Manny Piñol said that he had already alert the Bureau of Animal Industry at noon of Sunday, February 10.

“At 12 noon today, I have alerted the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) through (DA) Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Segfredo Serrano, to immediately impose a ban on the entry of pork and other pork products from Japan following reports of its spread in that country,” Piñol said on his Facebook page.

He said he had already issued a verbal directive to BAI through Undersecretary Serrano right after receiving a link to a report that appeared in Japan News.

Japan News reported that seven cases have already been “confirmed in Japan from October of last year through January where pork containing the ASF virus gene was found at domestic airports.”

“A written formal directive will be issued shortly on the imposition of the Temporary Ban against the entry of pork and pork products from Japan which will be in effect while our Quarantine Officials are validating the reports with the OIE or the World Animal Health Organization,” Piñol said Sunday.

“In view of this, all Quarantine Officers in Ports of Entry all over the country are directed to implement this directive immediately,” he said.

The agriculture secretary said that quarantine officers are also advised to review their quarantine protocols.

This will include the monitoring of all meat products being brought into the country by tourists, and the foot baths installed at the ports of entry, he said.

The Japan News reported that the ASF virus gene was “identified in four separate cases in Japan on Jan. 12 and 16, when it was found in carry-on baggage brought from China at Chubu Airport in Aichi Prefecture and Haneda Airport in Tokyo.”

According to the World Organization for Animal Health, the African swine fever (ASF) is a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs, and is responsible for serious production and economic losses.

“This transboundary animal disease (TAD) can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products;
furthermore, transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and fomites (non-living objects) such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives, equipment etc., due to the high environmental resistance of ASF virus,” it said.

As of now, there is no approved vaccine yet against ASF.