Meat products from countries with African swine flu infestation were among the agricultural products seized at Davao International Airport during the Christmas holidays, the Bureau of Customs said Thursday.
The Customs bureau said in a statement the confiscated products brought in by various passengers arriving from different countries, including areas not necessarily having swine flu infestation, were oranges, chili, spring onions, onions, ponkan, and parsley as well as meat, specifically frozen pecking duck, chicken, pork, beef and processed meat.
“These were brought from China, Hong Kong, United States, Canada, Australia, and Singapore. Despite the passengers’ failure to declare their parcels, Customs agents were able to identify the misdeclared items through X-ray scanning. The items were then referred to the officers of the Bureau of Quarantine for inspection,” the bureau said.
“The meat products from countries affected by the African Swine Flu were confiscated for proper disposal,” it said in a statement.
“According to the reports from the Bureau of Animal Industry, the confiscated meat products will be disposed immediately,” the BOC added.
The meat products contaminated with the African swine fever virus weighed 79.4 kilograms, Joshua Andrei Bon Gilles of the BOC-Port of Davao Public Information and Assistance Division told GMA News Online.
Nineteen of the 27 passengers who brought in the seized products were from China.
“We do not have an official valuation of the items confiscated as these were carried by passengers in the luggage, and were not declared to Customs, Gilles noted.
“Upon discovery of the agricultural items, these were brought to a Quarantine Officer which assessed that these were to be confiscated due to either coming from an African swine fever-hit country or lack of a Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import clearance,” he said.
“The meat products were carried by passengers from different countries. So, the office gives these passengers the benefit of the doubt. They may … not know of the import ban of meat from African swine flu-hit countries, or they may not be familiar with the requirement for a Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance needed when bringing agricultural products into the country,” he added.