DA orders temporary ban on pork from Germany
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has ordered a temporary ban on pork imports from Germany, after it discovered a pork shipment from that country mixed with 250 kilos of pork from Poland, a country with an African swine fever (ASF) epidemic.
Outgoing Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol announced and posted the DA order on his Facebook page on Wednesday, July 3.
The incident involved only one German exporter, Pro Food GmbH, but the Bureau of Animal Industries (BAI) said the incident was enough to warrant the temporary suspension of the accreditation of all German foreign meat establishments (FMEs) to export meat to the Philippines.
"BAI Director Dr Ronnie Domingo said this was a serious violation which warranted the banning of all pork shipments from Germany," Piñol said.
The DA order said that "relative to this incident, there have been lapses in the inspection system of Germany to ensure export of safe food for the Philippine market."
"This temporary suspension is for the protection of Philippine consumers pursuant to the Food Safety Act," the order said.
On June 27, the Cebu City government and the city's Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries inspectors intercepted the pork shipment from Germany and found that the legitimate shipment was mixed with 250 kilos of pork flat bones from Poland. (READ: Despite culls, import bans, swine fever to hit pork market for years)
Poland is among the country's affected by ASF and is included in the list of countries whose pork products are barred from entry in the Philippines.
Germany is not affected by ASF but shares a border with Poland. The Philippines remains safe from ASF.
With the latest order, Germany became the 19th country not allowed to bring in pork and pork products to the Philippines. (READ: Hog industry wants pork imports restricted to block African swine fever)
The DA said the temporary ban on German pork and pork products was effective July 1, and would remain "pending the results of the thorough investigation to be conducted by DA."
The DA order said, however, that German meat shipments already in transit upon the issuance of the order will be allowed to enter the country “subject to 100% physical inspection."
In a letter to the DA, Pro-Food GmbH admitted that it mistakenly shipped 26 boxes of Poland meat in its shipment of frozen pork, and said it was due to “human error.” It apologized for the “mistake” and promised to improve its “internal control system” to avoid a repeat of the incident.