Mekeni allowed to sell pork-based products

Published December 6, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

More than a month since samples of its processed pork products have been tested positive for African swine fever (ASF), Pampanga-based food and meat processor Mekeni Food Corporation is now off the hook.

This, as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already issued an endorsement to Mekeni Food for the redistribution of its pork-based products.

The need for FDA clearance arose when specific batches of Mekeni Picnic Red Classic Hotdog 500g and Skinless Longaniza 200g were tested positive for DNA traces of ASF, a deadly swine disease for hogs but not for humans.

Last November 22, Mekeni personally submitted and presented to Health undersecretary and FDA officer-in-charge Rolando Enrique Domingo the corrective actions taken by the company, as well as the results of the independent test conducted by SGS Philippines, Inc. SGS is the world’s leading inspection and verification company.

After thorough review of the documents and test results, the FDA, through Domingo, gave Mekeni the clearance to redistribute in a letter stating that “upon due evaluation of the submitted documents and as agreed during our meeting, please be advised that this Office allows the redistribution of these processed pork meat products that tested negative for ASF.”

The FDA clearance and SGS results give assurance that all Mekeni pork-based products to be released in the market, as well as its facilities, equipment and raw meat materials, are 100 percent negative for ASF virus DNA.

This was more than a month after Mekeni voluntarily withdrew all its pork-based products to help resolve the problem on the continuous spread of ASF.

It was done while waiting for the official laboratory results from SGS and Bureau of Animal Industry.

“During that difficult time, even if we knew that the business will be greatly affected, we chose to uphold our core values and put the welfare of the general public above all else,” said Mekeni President Prudencio Garcia.

In a statement, the company said that they did it to help the whole local hog industry and to mitigate the possibility that their products inadvertently become carriers of ASF.

ASF, a fatal animal disease affecting pigs and wild boars with up to 100 percent case fatality rate, can’t infect humans and is not considered a food safety risk, but it can be spread indirectly through people’s clothing, footwear, vehicles, farm equipment, and livestock feed.