DA lifts ban on cattle imports from Netherlands, Brazil, Spain

THE GOVERNMENT has lifted a ban on cattle imports from the Netherlands, Brazil, and Spain after those supplier countries were declared free of mad cow disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

In separate memorandum orders dated March 28, Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban allowed the entry of live cattle, meat products, and processed animal proteins derived from cattle.

Mr. Panganiban said none of the infected animals entered the production system, with no such exports to the Philippines.

According to Republic Act No. 10611 or the Food Safety Act of 2023, the government is required to perform an assessment to determine whether food products pose a risk to consumer health.

The ban on imports from the Netherlands was imposed on Feb. 17 due to reported cases of atypical BSE in Dutch cattle. The outbreak was declared resolved on March 13.

The ban on imports from Brazil was issued on March 22 after detection of the disease in the municipality of Maraba. No additional outbreaks have since been reported.

The ban on imports from Spain was imposed on March 6 after reported cases of BSE in the city of Pontevedra, which were declared resolved on the same day.

According to Mr. Panganiban, authorities from the three countries have provided evidence of their food safety measures that are in line with guidelines set by the Philippines.

He said the World Organisation for Animal Health considers the BSE risk in the three countries to be negligible, though shipments must be certified by their respective veterinary authorities. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera