Poultry key industry players along with DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan and NSC – CPLFC Chairperson Dr. Rufina Salas convene to prevent the entry of HPAI virus in the country.

The Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF), through the National Sectoral Committees and Strategic Concerns Committees – Committee on Poultry, Livestock, and Feed Crops (NSC – CPLFC), held a special meeting on February 21, 2017 at Apacible Conference Room in Quezon City.

The meeting was called to address the issue on the temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products, including poultry meat, day old chicks, eggs and semen originating from Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary, Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol signed a memorandum order with regard to the banning of poultry products from the said European countries after their governments confirmed to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) the outbreaks of H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus in their respective countries.

Through the said memorandum order, Sec. Piñol issued an immediate suspension of the processing, evaluation of the application and issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) import clearances for the affected commodities.

He added that all such shipments face confiscation, with the exception of heat-treated products, at all major ports in the country.

Meanwhile, frozen poultry meat with slaughter and process dates twenty-one (21) days prior to the HPAI outbreaks are allowed to enter the country but are still subject to quarantine rules and regulations.

In order to deal with the issues confronting the industry, United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA) suggested during the meeting that the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) should have fully equipped laboratories than can address the needs of processors, importers, producers and other industry stakeholders.

It was likewise recommended that a genuine quarantine system should be implemented to prevent the spread of any serious infectious disease.

It was clarified that the Mechanically Deboned Meat (MDM) was also included in the products banned from the said countries. Participants suggested that MDM should only be imported by the processors because they have the heat treating facilities that can kill the disease.

The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) gave their assurance that they will follow the OIE guidelines on how this issue will be handled to prevent any potentially harmful effects on the industry and the consumers.

The outbreak of avian influenza virus had been noted in Asia, Europe and Africa since it emerged in 2003. But to this date, the Philippine remains avian flu free in the whole Asia. Thus the Department’s strict measures to ensure this status and protect the poultry industry of the country.– LC