MANILA, Aug 14, 2020, PhilStar. The Philippines should immediately act on meat imports after China reported yesterday that some chicken wings shipped from Brazil tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), The Philippine Star reported.
The United Broiler Raisers Association (Ubra) sounded the alarm after the city government of Shenzhen said frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil were found to be infected with the virus.
Brazil is the second country that has the most number of COVID-19 cases, with more than three million people infected.
“It is a cause for urgent action. It must be based on careful evaluation of the information,” Ubra president Elias Jose Inciong said. “In terms of supply, we have more than ample volume, but that is beside the point, the more important concern is COVID.”
Asked whether frozen chicken imports from Brazil should be banned, Inciong said it is up to the Department of Agriculture (DA) to decide.
Ubra and the DA are not on good terms after the latter did not heed the poultry stakeholders’ call to halt meat imports amid the supply glut due to the lockdowns.
Ubra said there is a need to evaluate the situation as Brazil is one of the country’s major meat exporters.
The Philippines imported a total of 64.2 million kilos of all types of meat for the first semester of the year.
For chicken imports, 43.27 million kilos or more than half came from Brazil. These include 30.44 million kilos of deboned meat, 6.58 million kilos of chicken cuts and 3.05 million kilos of chicken leg quarters.
Agriculture Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan said safety protocols are in place.
“We have a system to manage it together with the DOH (Department of Health). We have documents issued for imported agriculture commodities and sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances,” Cayanan said.
Health authorities in Shenzhen traced and tested those who came into contact with the chicken products and no one has tested positive for the virus.
Prior to the chicken import incident, China reported that it also found the coronavirus on the packaging of shrimps shipped from Ecuador.