Price cap on pork pushed; rules on sale of processed meats out

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    Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) has called on government to look into the apparent disconnect in the pricing of pork which it said remains high at retail even as farmgate prices have gone down.

    The group said a suggested retail price (SRP) must take effect for the duration of the African swine fever (ASF) incidence up to the end of the holiday season in order to shield consumers from the high cost of pork, as well as chicken products.

    This developed as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued yesterday a memorandum circular adopting a unified guideline on the movement, distribution and sale of processed meat products, a move welcomed by the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI)

    LKI in a statement said hog farm gate prices dropped to P100 to P110 per kilogram (kg) as of October 17 from end August’s P126 to P128 per kg but retail prices were unchanged at a low of P220 per kg. and a high of P250 per kg.. Prevailing price is at P230 per kg. from end September until October 19.

    “The persistent effort to stem the epidemic brought about by the ASF continues to hurt especially the backyard raisers from the continuing decline in the farm gate prices. The government should strictly monitor whether (or not) current farm gate prices ăre still above producers costs and to ready appropriate financial support when needed,” said Vic Dimagiba, LKI president.

    Dimagiba said using the P60 benchmark margin between producers and retailers, the price of pork should only hover between P160 and P170 per kg.

    Under the DILG’s order, all processed meat products that do not contain pork as raw material shall be allowed unrestricted movement and distribution in all provinces.

    Processed meat products that contain pork will only be allowed to be distributed and sold in all provinces provided they are heat-treated or fully cooked apart from being certified to be sourced from a non-ASF infected country if imported or province if local. Processed pork products that do not undergo heat treatment or full cooking such as tocino, longganisa and tapa, must secure from the National Meat Inspection Services for a certification to prove the local origin of the meat.

    The DILG warned all shipments without the required shipping or handling condition such as refrigeration and documents will be confiscated and disposed immediately.

    PAMPI said the order is a positive development especially that 62 out of the 81 provinces or 77 percent of the country have independently implemented bans on the entry of processed meats into their territories.