FDA endorses redistribution of Mekeni pork-based products
Mekeni Food Corporation, one of the leading food processors in the country, is ready to bring back to market its pork-based products after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues endorsement to redistribute.
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 African Swine Fever (ASF).
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 Standard Global Services (SGS). 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: “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.
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. This proactive measure was commended by both the Department of Agriculture (DA) and FDA.
“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.
“Even though the Department of Health (DOH) has stated that ASF posts no risks to humans, we take the issue seriously and have spared no expense to further bolster our processes,” Garcia said.
To further improve its measures, the company is committing 100 percent of all incoming raw meats sourced both locally and abroad to undergo thorough testing for ASF.
A periodic environmental swabbing of its facilities will also be conducted to prevent potential contamination. A dedicated food safety and quality officer has also been appointed to head a second layer of testing.
Garcia states that these measures are on top of the company’s strict compliance with all regulations and certifications set by the government, as all meats coming to its plant for processing are certified by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and have the necessary sanitary and phytosanitary clearance.
“The procedures we have adopted in product testing and in our manufacturing facility are in line with our commitment to provide only the highest standards of food quality. We are happy that these tests have yielded negative results and we can again share our products to our customers,” Garcia added.