Enforcement agents of the Bureau of Customs will be on alert against imported cattle and meat products from Taiwan and Lebanon following the reported outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the two countries.
This was stressed by Intelligence and Enforcement Group (IEG) acting chief Jairus Paguntalan who said that it is part of the Bureau’s standard operating procedure to circularize any memorandum from any government agency and issue their own memorandum to alert their personnel, especially if it concerns the health and safety of the Filipino consumers.
Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) OIC at the Port of Manila Johnny Martinez said that even without the ban, they are already very vigilant against the entry of contaminated food products.
"This is a year round activity, we are monitoring all shipments but we are especially wary of the entry of any poultry products contaminated by bird flu and also, for meat—for those contaminated by foot and mouth disease," he said.
Martinez also said that refrigerated containers bearing such goods are also required to undergo x-ray scanning and 100 percent examination in accredited cold storage facilities of the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS).
In compliance to the ban order, Martinez said that incoming meat shipments from the two countries will immediately be placed on alert, until such time clearance is granted by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).
Agricultural goods are regulated items that require import permits from government line agencies such as the Bureau of Plant Industry and the BAI prior to importation. Absence of the document would immediately deem the shipment as contraband, subject to seizure and forfeiture.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has ordered a ban on the importation of cattle and other animals from after the World Animal Health Organization (WAHO) confirmed the outbreak in Taiwan and Lebanon.
FMD was detected in a dairy cattle farm in the province of Kamed El-Iouz in Lebanon while the disease was discovered among swines in the Maoliao township, Yun-Lin and Beidou town in Chang-hua, Taiwan