Philippines to impose strict fine on hog traders violating rule hinh anh 1 (Illustrative photo:

Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippines’ Department of Agriculture on October 1 threatened legal action against hog traders ignoring strict animal quarantine rules.

The country recently confirmed new cases of African swine fever (ASF) infections in Manila and the northern province of Pangasinan.

Philippine Agriculture Secretary William Dar said there is still enough pork supply in the domestic market, and that the government is making sure that only pork meat marked safe to eat by the government's National Meat Inspection Service is sold to consumers.

Relevant agencies have asked the local government units to further strengthen their checkpoints, he said, to make sure undocumented hogs possibly infected with the virus will not be transported to other provinces.

The incurable disease is wreaking havoc on hog industries in Southeast Asia.

The Philippines, the world's 10th-largest pork consumer and seventh-biggest importer, declared its first outbreak of the disease on September 9.

At least 20,000 pigs have so far been culled or have died because of the disease in the country since last month.

Agriculture officials suspect the virus was brought to local farms via food scraps, or swill, from hotels and restaurants fed to pigs, mixed with contaminated imported pork products.

To protect their hog-raising businesses, several provinces in central and southern Philippines have imposed a ban on the entry of pork and pork-based products from the disease-hit areas, including Manila capital city.

The Philippines’ hog-raising sector has suffered an estimated loss of 260 billion PHP (about 5 billion USD) due to the ASF, which is harmless to humans but has up to 100 percent fatality rate for pigs./.