Pampanga-based meat processor Mekeni Food Corp. on Friday said it has not received official confirmation from authorities that its products tested positive of African Swine Fever (ASF), the company’s president and CEO said Friday.
“As far as Mekeni is concerned, ‘yung alleged report wala naman pong binabanggit doon na ang Mekeni po ang contaminated na mga produkto,” Mekeni’s Prudencio Garcia told GMA News Online.
“Even from our DA (Department of Agriculture), we didn’t receive any formal report that the contamination came from our factory,” Garcia noted.
A media report (not GMA News Online) alleged that the processed meat products that tested positive for ASF were from Mekeni.
The meat samples seized in Mindoro hand-carried by a passenger included branded and homemade products.
Garcia noted “‘yung samples na pinagbasihan po ay galing doon sa isang area na sama-sama sa isang lalagyan for more than seven days.”
“Ang mga produkto namin nakahalo sa processed meat na homemade,” he said.
“Normally, ‘pag pinaghalo halo po ito at seven days or ten days nakalagay sa isang container ay talagang may contamination po ‘yun,” Garcia emphasized.
A copy of the clinical laboratory report from the Animal Industry bureau’s Veterinary Laboratory Division was leaked to the media, showing that three meat samples were contaminated with the ASF virus.
The samples—hotdog, longganisa, and tocino—came from a sender with the address 262-C Teresa St., Sta. Mesa, Manila.
The name and address of the owner as well as the name of the samples sender were obscured with an orange marker.
“Mahirap ma-indentify kung ano ‘yung source ng contamination ... BAI officials cannot say if the contamination came from our company—ito naman po ang na-appreciate ko sa kanila,” Garcia said.
“A lot of test has to be made para naman malaman kung ano ang cause ng mga problema,” he added.
Early this month, three towns in Pampanga—Apalit, Candaba, and San Simon—were added to the list of ASF-hit areas after backyard-raised pigs tested positive of the virus.
The Department of Agriculture earlier said the ASF-contaminated meat products came from a medium-scale processor in Central Luzon.
In a separate statement, Mekeni said that its products that supposedly tested positive was “unexpected” since the company is an ISO-certified company.
“We strictly adhere to the highest food safety and quality standards for many years,” it said.
“Moreover, we fully comply with government regulations to ensure that our processes and products are within the required standards. We maintain that all our raw meats are strictly inspected by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and have all the required certifications from regulatory bodies,” it added.
Mekeni noted that it is now doing everything it can to get the official report and a validated statement from the BAI.
Garcia noted that processed meats, infected or not infected by ASF, are safe for human consumption since the virus only affects pigs.
According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), 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