November 24, 2010


Philippine airports to confiscate Hong Kong poultry and meat products



Philippine airport officials were ordered to confiscate all poultry and meat products that will arrive from Hong Kong, following another outbreak of Avian Flu in that country.


Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Animal Quarantine officers are closely watching the shipment of live fowl and bird species from other countries to prevent the entry of animals infected by the Avian influenza virus.


Dr. Ada Tolentino, of the Veterinary Quarantine office at NAIA, said that they have received orders from the Bureau of Animal Quarantine (BAQ) to confiscate all uncooked meat products, be it poultry, pork, or beef.


According to Dr. Tolentino, they are working closely with Bureau of Customs (BoC) personnel to report to them meat products or any suspicious items brought in by passengers from countries with reported cases of the Avian Flu.


Dr. Tolentino added that they are also keeping a tight watch on the possible importation of fowl or other bird species that might come from countries through the cargo warehouses.


Meanwhile, Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Dr. Dave Catbagan assured the public that the poultry products in the country remain safe and are free from the Bird Flu virus.


According to Dr. Catbagan, the country has stopped importing live poultry from countries with reported cases of Avian Flu including China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Indonesia since 2005.


The BAI director added that the country sources its poultry breeders from Bird Flu-free countries such as France, the Netherlands, and Germany.


"There is nothing to worry about," Dr Catbagan said. "The BAI together with the Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ) have not let up its guard against the entry of infected animals since 2005," the BAI chief added.


For its part, the airport management reiterated that it is well prepared with the measures needed to prevent the entry of bird flu carriers into the country.


Airport general manager Jose Angel Honrado said that measures to prevent the entry possible carriers of the virus have been in place for over five years.


According to Honrado, the airport management has several thermal scanners located in both the arrival and departure concourses of the three international terminals in Manila that monitors the body temperature of passengers. Honrado explained that anyone detected with a body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius and above will be brought by the airport medical staff to a confined area for diagnosis.