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Poe urges DA to test imported meat for COVID

SENATOR Grace Poe urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to take necessary measures and test imported meat for COVID-19.

Importante na ma-test din natin for COVID ang mga pumapasok na karne kasi aside from African swine fever (ASF) na mapapatay ang ating alagang hayop, ito naman makakaapekto rin sa tao so hindi pupuwedeng baka sa susunod na linggo na lang ‘yan,” she added.

Poe asked the DA if it is true that the COVID-19 virus can live for up to three weeks on frozen meat, to which the DA confirmed that it is. The DA also disclosed that although they have allotted 80 million test kits for ASF, they currently do not have the capacity to test imported meat products for COVID-19.

Poe also looked into the DA’s disposal procedure of contaminated meat where there was news about confiscated meat that was dumped in Rizal and was used by small farmers in the area as animal feed.

According to the DA, they either send the contaminated meat back to its origin, throw it to a third country, or confiscate and burn it. But the department confirmed the incident in Rizal where they claim that the contaminated meat was actually smuggled imported meat sold to hotels and restaurants.

Pinoproblema natin ngayon ang ASF dahil may nagkulang sa sistema ng pag-inspeksyon. So drastically increasing our meat imports without enough testing capacity to ensure clean meat products will do more harm than good,” said Poe.

Executive Order No. 128 was issued on April 7 to temporarily reduce import duty on pork products from 30 percent down to a mere five percent for those that are brought in under the minimum access volume (MAV), while those imported outside the MAV will be lowered from 40 percent to 15 percent.