Is Pork Safe?
While the ASF virus continues to threaten our livestock, Dr. Eugene Mende maintains that it is safe to eat pork. Pork is part of our dining culture and present in our Filipino dishes. What is not safe is if we feed the left-over pork as "kaning-baboy, lamaw o pasaw." Dr. Mende, in his Facebook page, posted on October 6, stating that it is safe to eat pork.
He further explained that "Ang kaning-baboy ay maaring contaminated ng mga fungi, bacteria o virus na maaring magbibigay sakit sa mga alaga nating baboy." Last September 9, 2019 (https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/09/09/19/doh-african-swine-fever-not-a-risk-to-humans), ABS-CBN News also reported that the Department of Health assured the public that the African swine fever (ASF) does not pose a risk on human health.The Health department secretary reminded the public to thoroughly cook pork to prevent contracting illnesses from half-cooked meat. He advised that raw and undercooked pork products should not be fed to pigs by hog raisers as these may be sources of the ASF virus.
Personal hygiene such as washing your hands when you arrive home from a farm or market, and cleaning your shoes or vehicle tires used in pig farms should be observed. The Department of Agriculture also declared "cleared" of the disease are some 7,416 pigs that were culled in the affected areas in parts of Rizal and Bulacan. Dr. Mende also further stated in another Facebook post that, "The demand for pork will definitely be a challenge to our local industry hampered by the realities and fears of the ASF virus. But our southern provinces (and northern too) remain free and thus, at all cost, should be protected."
Backyard pig farming countries such as China and Vietnam, not only in the Philippines, show that the ASF virus has become a human-driven infection. Dr. Mende said that, "Mga tao po ang nagpapalala- viajero na nagtatakas ng mga may sakit, usisero, mga di sumusunod sa mga pinapatupad na stamp-out program, mga nagtatapon sa tubig at ilog at ang mga patuloy na nagpapakalat at nagpaparating ng mga contaminated na mga karne." (September 30, 2019 Facebook post).
In another message (October 9 Facebook post), Dr. Mende said that issues discussed in the PVMA Central Visayas Regional Convention reported that ASF vaccines from Vietnam are said to be " illegal dahil siguradong hindi ito dumaan sa proseso at regulasyon ng BAI for efficiency and safety certification."