PAMPI warns of food shortage

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    The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) has asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to reconsider the ban on poultry imports, including mechanically deboned meat from Brazil.

    In a letter to Agriculture Secretary William Dar dated Aug. 19, 2020, PAMPI president Felix Tiukinhoy Jr. asked for a reconsideration saying the move is not backed by scientific evidence.

    PAMPI said the ban would hurt the economy and would result in food shortage.

    “The blanket ban on poultry imports from Brazil is not only restrictive to bilateral trade but is even more damaging to our economy as it unnecessarily creates a food shortage which adversely affects mainly poor consumers, while simultaneously wreaking havoc on meat manufacturing and food service industries,” Tiukinhoy said.

    DA Memorandum Order No. 39 (MO 39) issued on August 14 imposed a temporary ban on the importation of poultry meat originating from Brazil following reports that SARS-COV 2 which is the causative agent of COVID-19, was detected in a surface sampling conducted in chicken meat imported from Brazil to China.

    Tiukinhoy said imposing the ban as a precautionary measure goes against provisions set in the Food Safety Act of 2013 as there is no scientific evidence of transmission of COVID-19 virus from food or food packaging to humans.

    He said both WHO and DOH have repeatedly declared there is no evidence that food or the food chain is participating in the transmission of the virus.

    He said the DA accredited eight poultry plants in Brazil four months ago after passing Philippine quarantine and meat inspection systems procedures.

    Last week, the DA also issued a similar order for chicken imports coming from Australia after the latter’s chief veterinary officer reported to the World Organization for Animal Health reported an outbreak of H7N7 highly pathogenic avian influenza in Lethbridge, Victoria.

    From January to July this year, the Philippines imported a total of 242,228,181 kg. of chicken products, of which 999,550 kg. or 0.4 percent came from Australia while 55,395,826 kg or almost 23 percent came from Brazil.