He assured that the lack of technological tools to determine the content of traditional Puerto Rican cakes has completely stopped the release of this product in the United States. IS TALKING Fernando Lugo, Head of the Island’s Federal Department of Agriculture.
Although swine fever is not dangerous to humans, the disease can kill pigs in a short time, resulting in serious economic losses for the pig industry.
“No cakes are allowed because we are not sure about its composition. To find out, we will have to open it, which will damage the product. Sometimes the pie is not even pork, but when making the mixture, you can add pork products, which are already contaminating the pie in emergencies. Therefore, it is forbidden to take out all the cakes from anywhere, be it post office or airplane, ”Lugo explained. The official said the ban is indefinite until the infection is stopped in the Dominican Republic.
A federal order was issued on September 17 to ban any movement of pork and its derivatives to the United States as a strategy to prevent possible contamination and spread of African swine fever, he explained.
The disease affects domestic and wild pigs and was first discovered in Asia. Currently, the infection has been found in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
Lugo explained that X-ray machines at airports can detect cake-shaped organic matter, but cannot determine if they contain pork, beef, or chicken, or are made from vegetables.
The official explained that the decision is a preventive measure, as the disease does not exist in Puerto Rico and never existed.
He warned that if the disease reaches the island, they will have to take more restrictive measures.
“We are talking about the fact that if a person walks into a pig farm, we will have to disinfect his shoes and clothes. It is a very aggressive and deadly virus, ”he said, but stressed that at the moment there is no reason to fear eating pork in Puerto Rico.
Lugo strongly emphasized the economic impact of the virus due to its rapid spread and immediate impact on pigs. In the case of the United States, pork sales are $ 19 billion.
In the case of Puerto Rico, according to the Department of Agriculture, pork production averages $ 14 million per year with an average production of £ 10 million.
However, the island’s pork consumption is 230 million pounds a year, and this gap is bridged by imports from the US and Canada.
If you’ve ever brought cakes, pork, or sausage to a friend or relative in the United States …
Angel Rodriguez, President of the Puerto Rico Pig Producers’ Cooperative, assured that they are taking all preventive measures to avoid contamination.
He claimed that the swine disease was reported in the Dominican Republic in 1978 and 1984, but it never reached Puerto Rico.
He recalled that prevention is very important because of the constant traffic between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. He also pointed to the illegal entry of Dominicans.
“They bring food with them on the road. Upon entering, they hide in the mountains, where they usually dump the remnants of food, without throwing away the pork. It is in the mountains that wild pigs are found, which go out at night in search of food, can enter private pig farms and infect them, ”he warned.
Rodriguez assured that the island’s pig production is still maintaining stable sales.
Sellers are worried
Marisol Rivera, who has a handicraft cake making business, was concerned and told EL VOCERO that roughly 25% of her produce goes to the United States.
“Since October, many families have ordered cakes to be taken to their children, nephews and friends in the United States. In a small business like mine, which produces about 1000 cakes for the Christmas season – from November to January – I would lose from selling more than 250 cakes in the first draw if this order does not change, ”Rivera said. “In the commercial cake business, we’re talking thousands of dollars lost,” he added.
The average price for cakes on the island ranges from $ 2.50 to $ 3.