African swine fever devastated pork supplies in 2019, causing a death in 25% of the world’s pigs and 50% of all pigs in China. This is geopolitically a very significant event, since the Chinese rely on cheap pork imports along with soy to support their large population which they cannot feed due to gross agricultural and land resource mismanagement as well as rampant corruption. Thus a small shock in the pork markets can have major consequences for China, even the potential of starting a revolution.
A peculiar fact about the Swine Flue is that it can survive in pork meat even if it is frozen or mildly cooked, and seems to die only under significant cooking. As such, pork-based products can carry the illness and infect other animals around the world. China has claimed to have been able to control the spread of infected meat, but a recent incident from the Philippines has brought such claims into question as infected meat has been found in a pack of dumplings imported into the Philippines that has now been placed under quarantine.
A shipment of pork-celery dumplings from China which was seized at a port in Manila last December has been found to be infected with the African swine fever.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) in a statement on Saturday said the Manila International Container Port has ordered that the contents of the shipment be buried to prevent the spread of the virus, which affects only pigs.
The BOC said the container, consigned to Dynamic M Int’l Trading, Inc., arrived at the Manila North Harbor last December 11, 2019. It had other food items such as pork-chicken balls and roast-chicken wings.
The shipment was placed on hold as authorities suspected it contained misdeclared items, the BOC said, noting that the items did not have a sanitary permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry.
“After 100% examination of its contents and undergoing laboratory test from the Veterinary Quarantine Services (VQS), the pork-celery dumplings indicated the presence of ASF virus,” the bureau said.
The MICP assured the public that it remains vigilant in preventing the entry of pork products that could have the swine fever virus.
The Philippines’ import ban on pork and pork products covers 16 countries hit by swine fever, namely Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, Zambia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Romania, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Mongolia, Vietnam, and Cambodia. (source)