Another unsanitary meat processing plant in Payatas was recommended for closure. Quezon city Veterinary Office conducted a random inspection and they discovered the unsanitary practices of this meat processing plant. Ingredients for longganisa are on dirty floor. Workers are not using any gloves.
National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) said that consumer cannot easily determined the cleanliness of processed meat. Consumer basis for meat safety is trust but NMIS insist that trust is not enough. Products to be bought should have expiration date, a keep refrigerated instruction and has a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registration.
NMIS plan to prohibit the selling of home-made processed meats (longganisa, tocino, tapa) or unbranded products. They also insisted that all meat products should come from NMIS accredited processing plants.[Bandila]
This is a good news for meat consumers, the risk of food borne illnesses from meat products will be greatly reduced. But a bad news for small processors who are just starting-up or have no enough capital to pay for a number of expensive permits.
National Meat Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture warned meat vendors to sell only safe meat. The warning is in accordance with 1) the widespread trade of botcha or double dead meat 2) improper handling of frozen imported meat in some Manila marketplace and, 3) processing of double dead meats.
Here is the complete copy of letter for your reference. The letter can also be seen on Department of Agriculture Website.
“We owe it to the public. We should always consider their welfare in everything that we do especially when crafting guidelines that ensure the safety and quality of meat and meat products.”
This is the statement of National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) executive director Jane Bacayo in a meeting today with meat importers and traders at the NMIS conference hall. During the meeting, Bacayo presented a guideline that prescribes the rules in handling of imported meat when sold in wet markets.
“Although imported meat is allowed to be sold in wet markets, vendors should observe the standards pertaining to maintaining its safety and quality. Frozen meat that are not handled properly poses a risk to the health of consumers.” Bacayo further said.
It will be recalled that recently some vendors in Metro Manila and nearby provinces are complaining about the increasing presence of frozen meat in wet markets and are questioning about its safety.
The guideline prescribes that frozen meat when sold in wet markets have to be kept in a controlled environment that prevents it from thawing. The vendors should avoid placing the meat directly in contact with dirty surfaces. It should also retain its original packaging.
Bacayo also warns consumers to look for the Meat and Meat Product Inspection Certificate when buying meat. This document certifies that the meat that they buy was certified to be free from any risks that might be hazardous to one’s health.
The guideline was signed last week by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and will take effect on December 12. # # # (Roberta L. Riguer, NMIS)
Atty. Jane C. Bacayo,
Executive Director, NMIS
Tel Nos.:9247980, 9247971
Two Tamaraw Fx were seized by authorities in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. The two vihicles where carrying 15 heads of double dead meat or botcha including the three seriously ill pigs. The suspects routine operation is to collect dead pigs from hog farms and sell it to Manila Markets [GMA-7:Saksi].
Authorities are strictly monitoring the illegal meat sellers but they never stop. Heavier punishment should be imposed immediately to stop those culprits. Farms participating in this illegal trade should be closed forever.
To avoid eating double dead meats, buy only meat with seal of approval from National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and processed products with registration from Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines. Botcha might have sickness that are transferable to humans.
Quezon, City Health Department issued a closed order against the three Balintawak markets. Namely: Riverview market, Cloverleaf Market and MC Market. The closure order was due to widespread and unstoppable selling of botcha or double dead meat and the discovery of unsanitary meat processing plant in Novaliches.
Authorities beleived that processed meat coming from the mentioned dirty processing plant are also delivered to Balintawak markets.
Some requirements are needed before the vendors can resume selling:
1) Vendors must secure business and sanitary permits.
2) Vendors must also attend seminar on food hygiene.
3) Market owner should renovate their building and facilities.
4) Meat and meat products should be stored in cold storage to prevent its deterioration and catching of dirts from dust and flies.
5) They should not sell botcha or double dead meats.
Quezon City Government are now monitoring Novaliches area. There are reports saying that botcha dealers transfered to this place.[GMA-7:Saksi]
Authorities are now monitoring processed meat to ensure public safety. They are conducting a surprise inspection to meat processing plants. Necessary actions will be imposed to violators. The effort was initialized after the discovery of wide spread marketing of botcha or double dead meat.
They are recommending to buy only properly labeled meat products or commodities under trusted brands. In case of trouble, the responsible manufacturer can easily be traced.
Well known brands will take all effort to ensure safety of their consumers. Safety of unlabeled meat products are unknown. They have not passed through the safey inspection of National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines (FDA).
Authorities are also planning to implement the mandatory building of meat storage facilities in public markets. They will also prohibit the display of meat products in ambient temperature (hanging on bars and placing on table top). The purpose is to prevent spoilage and contamination with dust and other foreign objects.
National Meat Inspection Service want to increase the fine for selling and processing of double dead meat, botcha. Animal raisers continue to process and sell these hazardous meats. The existing fine for the violation is not less than 1,000 pesos but not more than 10,000 pesos. The agency wants to raise the fine to not less than 50,000 pesos but not more than 200,000 [ABS-CBN, Bandila].
Paying a small amount of 10,000 wont hurt illegal processors and sellers. They can easily pay the fine and continue the illegal did again. However 200,000 pesos is a big deal, it might help stop the market of forbidden goods.
For me, the minimum fine should be raised to 200,000 and not 50,000. Illegal selling of botcha is not a petty crime. Selling just one double dead pig might bring illness to hundreds of people. It should be taken seriously.
Taste and appearance of double dead meat are masked by processing. Fresh meat and botcha processed to various products are almost always identical, differences are hard to determine. Botcha processed meat emit foul odors when heated. However, the technique does not always work.