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Laban Konsyumer, PAMPI urge gov’t to reveal brand of ASF-infected processed meat

Consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. and the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. on Thursday called on the Bureau of Animal Industry to reveal the identity of the owner of three processed meat products which tested positive of African Swine Fever (ASF).

Laban Konsyumer president Vic Dimagiba told GMA News Online that the consumer group is urging the bureau to “name the brand, issue a show cause order and recall the contaminated product, be it local or imported.”

For his part, association spokesperson Rex Agarrado said, in a separate interview, the group will demand a copy from the bureau of the test results, calling the leak of the report  “unfortunate” as this seemed to have accused meat processors of being negligent in handling pork meat amid the ASF scare.

A copy of clinical laboratory report from the bureau’s Veterinary Laboratory Division was leaked to the media showing that three meat samples were contaminated with the ASF virus.

The Samahang Industrya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) also provided the media with copies of the report.

The three processed meat samples—hotdog, longganisa, and tocino—came from a sender with the address 262-C Teresa St., Sta. Mesa, Manila.

The name of the owner and its address as well as the name of the sender of samples, however, were obscured with an orange marker.

“Bakit ganun? Nag-test ng vinegar na synthetic ingredients but the brand names were not disclosed to consumers. Now, processed meat contaminated with ASF but brands not likewise identified for the consumers,” Dimagiba said in a separate message to the media.

“Kung nag-iingat sila sa process they should issue show cause for the brand owner/s to explain. The process is in the Food Safety law,” he said.

 Agarrado said it’s “very unfair” that the meat processors group was not given a copy of the test results … “Let us not dignify this rumor until we see the results.”

“It’s not official. Until we see the copy, we don’t want to react,” he added.

The association earlier said the ASF virus cannot live in processed meat products since these are cooked at temperatures ranging from 70 degrees Celsius to 116 degrees Celsius for 40 to 60 minutes.

 The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has said that the ASF virus is highly resistant to low temperatures, but can be “inactivated” by heat treatment at 56°C for 70 minutes or 60°C for 20 minutes. —VDS, GMA News