Meat importers call for lifting of Brazil pork ban


Louise Maureen Simeon, The Philippine Star

September 15, 2020   


MANILA, Philippines [PH] — Importers are calling for the total lifting of the Brazil pork import ban as they maintained that the partial decision to only allow the entry of mechanically deboned meat has no scientific justification.


In a letter to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, the Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA) expressed dismay that chicken meat and offal from Brazil are still not allowed to be imported.


“We do not understand the reasoning behind this. Do the products not come from the same animals and country? There is no scientific justification to ban chicken meat and allow MDM,” MITA president Jess Cham said.


“We strongly urge the DA to lift the ban entirely in order to show that it was not a protectionist measure, but actually had the health and welfare of consumers at heart,” he said.


Last week, the DA ordered the partial lifting of the temporary importation ban on MDM of poultry from Brazil after the Latin American country submitted documentary requirements sought by the Philippines.


Further, MITA said the DA should revisit its strategy and change its approach in banning export from countries due to diseases like the African swine fever (ASF) and bird flu.


MITA was referring to the existing ban imposed on countries like Germany, Australia, and Belgium among others.


“The Philippines has both ASF and bird flu. In fact, our situation is worse because we have ASF in commercial farms all over the country, while Germany only found one solitary case in a dead wild boar,” Cham said.


“Trade of pork meat within the EU goes on in spite of ASF in some member countries as long as the pork meat is certified free from ASF. In a way it is like COVID. We need to live with it while awaiting a vaccine. We should not isolate ourselves,” he said.


Importers emphasized that the country’s strategy should not be only to protect pig farms and pork production, but also to ensure availability of affordable meat to the consumers.


“Why are we not imposing a ban on pork meat from all other regions in the Philippines?  Why are we accepting certified pork meat from ASF-free zones? The same principle applies,” Cham said.


“The ban on Germany, Brazil, Australia and Belgium should be revised to conform with scientific principles and to be consistent with the guidelines. The ban should be regionalized and limited only to the affected zones; otherwise they will be perceived as protectionist measures,” he said.


Moreover, MITA argued...