Meat agency in Philippines intensifies campaign against unsafe pork, chicken
To assure that consumers are eating safe meat, especially this coming Christmas season, the Filipino National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) has started to inspect public markets, slaughterhouses and post-abattoir operations with the assistance of law enforcement agencies.
Meat agency officer-in-charge Jane Bacayo said they have strengthened partnerships with local government units to implement more effective regulation of the meat industry, by watching closely on the country's meat processing plants and public markets along with 426 accredited slaughterhouses and more than 1,000 unaccredited slaughterhouses nationwide.
The NMIS has lately been conducting a lot of 'post-abattoir' operations where it was able to confiscate some 9 tonnes combined of 'hot' or double-dead meat in several markets in Metro Manila, in coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation [NBI] and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police, Bacayo said in a report to Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap.
Bacayo said the operations led to the filing of criminal cases against 10 people for selling unsafe pork and chicken from January to August alone.
While the Bureau of Animal Industry has jurisdiction over animals transported from farms to slaughterhouses, it is the job of the Meat agency to oversee all industry-related activities from slaughterhouses to the markets.
Bacayo explained that because of this, the NMIS has the mandate to confiscate all meat and meat products that have not passed the standards set by the agency
He also added that after they catch people selling double-dead meat, they file cases against them for violation of the Consumer Act of the Philippines.
The Meat official further said that market inspection work is being done all year round. However, the Meat agency's operations are stepped up during the last quarter because unsafe or hot meat is ''most prevalent from August to December, when the changes in the weather make animals and poultry less resistant and more susceptible to diseases.
The Meat agency always conducts seminars and advocacy campaigns on food safety, trying to convince local governments to do their share in the food safety campaign of the government.
Bacayo said that alongside food safety seminars and advocacy campaigns for local governments, the Meat agency has also been extending financial assistance to municipalities for the improvement of their slaughterhouses, through grants on a counterpart arrangement.
Helping local governments improve their meat processing facilities actually falls under a new project of the agency, which is the Meat Establishment Improvement Program.