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USMEF Addresses U.S. Meat Safety in the Philippines

Published: Oct 31, 2014

Travis Arp, USMEF technical services manager, provides the keynote address at the 2014 Annual Meat Inspection Conference in Manila, Philippines

USMEF Technical Services Manager Travis Arp gave the keynote address at the Philippines National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) annual Meat Inspection Conference in Manila last week. The conference provides annual training for more than 700 front line national meat inspectors responsible for assuring the safety of both imported and domestic meat products.

"Our participation at the NMIS conference signaled USMEF’s interest in the Philippine government’s efforts to enhance meat safety, while also providing an opportunity to exchange views on technical aspects of our respective regulatory systems," Arp said.

Dr. Marvin Vicente, head of meat standards and development for NMIS and the agency’s consumer protection division, highlighted recently passed meat inspection regulations, including Administrative Order (AO) 5 and AO 6, which provide detailed guidelines on the way fresh meat and imported frozen meat can be sold at retail. Meat exporting countries, including the United States, are watching AO 6 closely for its potentially restrictive provisions on the way defrosted imported meat can be sold in Philippine wet markets. In recent months, U.S. and Philippine technical experts have engaged in talks on the safety of imported defrosted meat sold at retail outlets – including discussions during a recent visit to the United States by NMIS officials.

With the Philippines experiencing rapid economic growth and a rapidly expanding foodservice sector, U.S. beef/beef variety exports to the Philippines have increased 12 percent year-over-year – totaling 8,981 metric tons (mt) through August. U.S. pork/pork variety meat exports, however, are down 19 percent over the same period (to 27,576 mt) due to a large influx of low-priced European product. According to Philippine import statistics, total pork/pork variety meat imports through September – including pork fat and skins – totaled more than 180,000 mt and are on pace to easily exceed full-year 2013 imports of 199,453 mt. The EU accounted for nearly 70 percent of import volume, led by Germany, France and Spain. The remainder was mainly from the U.S. and Canada, which captured 14 percent and 13 percent market shares, respectively.