Cebu City vet suggests checks on meat imports’ safety

November 18, 2010 12:52 pm 

CEBU CITY, Nov. 18 – Fewer hogs are being slaughtered in Cebu City, the veterinarian’s office confirmed, and local dealers are feeling the pinch from the reported entry of imported meat in the wet markets.

”Traders and suppliers are already affected and farm owners are complaining,” Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) Chief Alice Utlang said.

While she could not give the data, said there was a big decrease in terms of the number of hogs slaughtered each day.

She also explained hog raisers no longer sell as many pigs of marketable weight as they used to.

According to the Central Visayas Pork Producers’ Cooperative, if the hogs get any bigger than what is considered marketable weight, the price drops.

What worries Utlang is the safety of imported meats, which are sold at cheaper prices.

Maria Pino-Buanghug, president of the Cebu City Vendors Association, said local meat vendors are helpless about the entry of imported meat in the market.

”We’ve heard for a long time there, is imported pork being sold. We just want to have it verified because the prices are really low; the supply competes with that of local dealers,” said Buanghug.

Utlang also wants to know why imported meat is cheaper.

She has since asked the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) for a list of meat importers in the city but has yet to receive the reply from the agency.

Only a pig’s face is allowed to be sold in the wet market as an ingredient in making chorizo or pork sausage. However, Utlang said other imported meat parts are also sold like livers and stomachs.

Utlang had the wet markets monitored.

She also wants NMIS to furnish her with the laboratory results of imported meat sold in the City, as well as an inventory of importers’ stocks.

”We want to know how fat an imported mat can be disposed of,” said Utlang.

Importers have to present a certificate of meat importation from the exporting country, but Utlang wants NMIS to conduct laboratory tests on the meat.

”It might be cheap but is it safe?” asked Utlang. (PNA) LDV/EB/re

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