Cebu City vet warns vendors from passing off imported meat as local produce

December 7, 2010 11:52 am 

CEBU CITY, Dec. 7 – The Cebu City veterinarian has warned market vendors in the city against selling imported meat as local produce.

Dr. Alice Utlang, chief of the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries, issued the warning following a new set of guidelines from the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) on the sale of frozen meat.

Utlang said there are reports some vendors wash frozen or chilled meat then pass it off as local meat.

Imported meat arrives in the country frozen or chilled to keep its freshness.

However, some unscrupulous meat vendors thaw the frozen product by using boiling water.

Utlang said this is not allowed because bacteria increases the moment the meat is thawed and not cooked right away.

Utlang said vendors might think this is allowed until Dec. 15, which is the start of the implementation of the NMIS’s administrative order 22-2010 or the rules and regulations in handling frozen or chilled meat and meat products.

One provision is that frozen meat should be re-packed, since it come in at least 20 kilos, by an establishment accredited by the NMIS.

Also, the product should be transported to the market through a vehicle with a refrigerator and stored in the market in the appropriate storage facility with a temperature of not more than four degrees Celsius.

Incidentally, the Cebu City Council also passed a resolution for the renovation of the Cebu City Abattoir, with the goal of getting an NMIS accreditation.

Through a resolution penned by Councilor Raul Alcoseba, chairman of the committee on markets, the council wants to prioritize the renovation of the abattoir in a contractual agreement through a build and transfer scheme.

The council has authorized Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to sign the memorandum of agreement to undertake the project.

”There are areas and equipment within the Cebu City Abattoir that are already dilapidated and in bad need of repair or replacement rendering said areas unsafe for occupancy and at risk for closure,” the resolution read.

The abattoir is 35 years old and has not undertaken a renovation since.

The poor condition is the reason it has never gotten an NMIS accreditation. (PNA)

LDV/EB/re

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