PH bans entry of cattle, meat from Brazil
MANILA -The government has temporarily banned the entry of cattle and meat products imported from Brazil, the country’s top source of imported beef last year, to prevent the spread of mad cow disease in the Philippines.
The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) memorandum order imposing the temporary ban covers the importation of live cattle, meat and meat products, bovine processed animal proteins and semen derived from cattle from Brazil and is effective immediately.
“The recent cases of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) or commonly known as Mad Cow Disease in Brazil as reported to the WOAH (World Organisation for Animal Health) may pose a risk to consumers due to BSE’s assumed link with the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans,” the order read.
Mode of transmittion
vCJD is a degenerative brain disorder that leads to dementia and death. It can be transmitted through contaminated meat.
Jesus Cham, president of the Meat Importers and Traders Association, said, however, that the ban was based on just one instance of BSE thus the group hoped that the ban would be resolved quickly.
“The disruption is unwelcome and adds unnecessary strain to the supply chain,” Cham said, “We are seeing price pressure from pork, and any decrease in the supply of other meat will most likely add to overall inflation.”
In the meantime, DA ordered the immediate suspension of the processing, evaluation of the application and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances covering the commodities covered by the ban.
All shipments from Brazil that are in transit, loaded or accepted unto port before the official communication of the latest order to the Brazilian authorities will be allowed, provided the products were slaughtered or produced on or before Dec. 18, 2022.
DA’s veterinary quarantine officers will also conduct a more rigorous and tight inspection on all arrivals of meat and meat by-products derived from cattle, including live animals and bovine processed animal proteins.
Processed animal proteins are an important ingredient in manufacturing fish feeds.
The DA issued the memo as Brazil reported to the WOAH that there was a BCE outbreak in Maraba, Para in Brazil affecting domestic cattle.
Brazil is one of the Philippines’ top sources of meat and was the second largest source of beef as of February 2023.
It has exported 7.58 million kilograms (kgs) of pork products as of end-February, comprised mainly of pork cuts, based on data from the Bureau of Animal Industry.
Brazil is also the country’s leading source of chicken with the South American country delivering 34.27 million kgs of chicken in the same period.
Existing laws empower the agency to temporarily halt the entry of agricultural commodities to prevent the entry of animal diseases.
The Food Safety Act of 2013 states precautionary measures shall be adopted, provided that “in specific circumstances when the available relevant information for use in risk assessment is insufficient to show that a certain of food or food product does not pose a risk to consumer health.”
Moreover, the Revised Administrative Code of 1917 authorizes the DA to issue an order preventing the entry of animals, animal effects, parts or products from any country with dangerous communicable animal diseases. INQ