BFAR’S official statement on the scallops allegedly contaminated by Hepatitis A virus

The following is the statement of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources on the scallops allegedly contaminated by Hepatitis A Virus.

"The Philippines has a long tradition of exporting quality scallops dating back to year 1976. Having been compliant to seafood safety standards of importing countries, we have maintained trading for 40 years without seafood safety concerns.

In 2014, 826, 177 kilograms of scallops valued at US$6.0 million were exported to Hongkong, Japan, Korea, United States, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Initiatives to implement the Philippine Seafood Traceability Program since 2013 have increased demand for Philippine seafood products notably in the European Union, and the rest of the world.

Confident of the seafood safety management system in place, we are deeply concerned upon receiving alert notification from the U.S. that Philippine scallops have been linked to Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) outbreak in Hawaii.

In view of these emerging threats to seafood safety which pose serious risks to human health, BFAR as the food safety regulatory agency of fish and fishery products vested with authority by the Food Safety Act of 2013, is now implementing emergency measures, re-assessing, re-evaluating, and conducting traceability audit of De Oro Resources, Inc., the reported Philippine exporter of frozen raw scallops based in Lapu-Lapu City. Pending the on-going traceability audit, BFAR is temporarily suspending the accreditation of De Oro Resources, Inc. to export fishery products.

BFAR has likewise directed the De Oro Resources, Inc. to suspend the distribution of its existing inventory of fishery products and to recall all previously distributed products belonging to the same batch or of the same distribution period.

The said emergency measures are implemented to arrest possible contamination of the virus, if the same truly exists as established by the thorough assessment and investigation on the matter."

Source: Philippine Information Agency