Fears about African swine fever may reduce pork prices —Laban KonsyumerBy TED CORDERO,GMA News
Consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) on Tuesday said the news that the blood samples from pigs that died in Rizal have tested positive for African swine fever (ASF) may cause pork prices to drop amid fears arising from the disease.
"The consumers will react to the ASF news. The fear factor may result to consumers temporarily postponing eating pork that may reduce further both farm and retail prices," LKI president Vic Dimagiba told GMA News Online.
After receiving the results of blood samples from the pigs that died in Rizal province, the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced on Monday that majority of the samples turned positive of ASFbased on tests conducted in England.
Dimagiba said that so far farm gate prices of pork remain at the P120 per kilo level, same level from a week ago.
"Kasim and liempo at low P190 to P220 per kilo," he said.
"With the announcement on the ASF, there is a need to strengthen monitoring of supply and quality of meat products," he added.
The DA said it is now vigorously enforcing the “1-7-10 Protocol” to control ASF from spreading in the country.
Under the protocol, quarantine checkpoints are set up in areas within a 1-kilometer radius of suspected farms—monitoring the movement of live pigs, pork, and pork products.
Within a 7-kilometer radius, authorities are conducting surveillance and limiting animal movement.
Farm owners within the 10-kilometer radius are mandated to report any disease to the DA.
"Consumers should trust the capability of the government in the inspection, quarantine, impounding of pork products," Dimagiba said.
"Consumers should cooperate and report when in doubt," he added.
The consumer group chief called for the setting up of a consumer hotline for both landline and cellular phones for ASF-related concerns.
Malacañang on Monday said that pork was safe to eat despite the DA's confirmation that African swine fever caused the deaths of several pigs in areas near Metro Manila.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo added that the DA would take all the necessary measures to ensure that the public was safe from ASF.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Tuesday reiterated that pork remains safe to eat but cautioned consumers to buy only meat with the stamp of approval from the National Meat Inspection Service.
“We want to allay the fears of the public by saying that, as long as pork is bought from reliable sources and it is cooked thoroughly, pork is safe to eat,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement. —KG, GMA News