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Ebola: Philippine pork exports may be banned

The Philippines can no longer export pork products to Singapore for failing to meet requirements, Emilio V. Escobillo, Jr, chair of the South Cotabato Swine Producers Association (Socospa), told MindaNews.

Escobillo confirmed that no testing for Ebola Reston virus was conducted in South Cotabato province in mid-February, as earlier promised by the Philippine government. South Cotabato is located in the South of the Philippine island of Mindanao.


“Socospa is no longer optimistic that we can realise the country's first foreign pork meat foray under this administration,” he said.


Ultimatum
Escobillo said the Agri-Food Veterinary Authority of Singapore gave the Philippine government until end of January 2010 to submit a bio-security measure for Mindanao, global position system of hog farms in Mindanao and the different chokepoints in Mindanao but this was not complied.


Earlier, the local swine association proposed the declaration of Mindanao as a separate biosecurity region to push forward the first pork shipment of the country, which was aborted due to the detection of the Ebola Reston virus.


Luzon
The virus, however, was found in hog farms in Luzon – the large island in the north of the archipelago, where also the capital of Manila is located. This led to the suspension of pork exports from Mindanao to Singapore more than a year ago.


Late last January, the director of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), announced that the test kits for Ebola Reston virus were expected to arrive mid-February. South Cotabato would get priority of the 5,000 test kits they ordered.


No testing
Escobillo said no Ebola Reston virus testing has been conducted so far among the hog farms in the city and South Cotabato province. Escobillo blamed the BAI for failing to meet the deadline set by Singapore's AVA to submit the biosecurity measure for the swine industry in Mindanao.


Mindanao was chosen by the government to pioneer pork exports since it is certified free from Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) since 2001.


For more information on the Ebola Reston discovery, read the article Virus update: Pigs as mixing vessels in Pig Progress 25.08 or read the article online.


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• MindaNews

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