LGUs urged to ensure safety of meat products in markets
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - October 26, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) urged local government units (LGUs), specifically in Cebu, to help ensure health safety of the meat products circulating in the market.

NMIS-7 regional director Dr. Eduardo R. Oblena said, the agency, which is under the Department of Agriculture (DA), has been actively promoting and partnering with the different stakeholders to make the consumers aware about the importance of meticulously checking their meat sources for safety.

“We’ve done a lot of info drives along this line. Even with the limitations due to the pandemic, we have been going around putting up streamers and tarpaulins and even doing face-to-face activities to maintain awareness among consumers,” Oblena said at the sidelights of the recent audit they conducted for Virginia Slaughterhouse & Meat Plant, an “AA” rated slaughterhouse and meat cutting facility in Asturias, Cebu.

Oblena however said that their efforts will not be enough in monitoring, or better yet, putting a stop to slaughtering and selling of hogs without proper food safety permits from their office without active participation of the LGUs which have more capacity in monitoring and enforcing the policies at the local level.

“These illegal activities that did not go through the proper process, and don’t have the food safety certifications will threaten the industry and the people because it is how diseases are spread. One case for instance, is an incident in Davao where the meat sold in the market did not have the necessary certificates caused the spread of ASF (African Swine Fever), which affected the farms in the area,” he added.

He noted that while ASF doesn’t affect human beings, the disease has the potential to disrupt the supply chain as it wipes out herd population thus may affect local supply and the economy in the long run as it causes imbalance in supply and demand.

Another threat is on human health as these unregulated activities may cause illness caused by abusive use of drugs administered to the hogs.

Strong political will to enforce the policies and maintained information campaign to educate the consumers are needed to make sure our food supplies are safe to eat, he noted.

“One thing that LGUs can do is to hire and train their own Meat Inspectors. For an LGU with a slaughterhouse facility like this one (Virginia Slaughterhouse & Meat Plant), they should have at least three trained meat inspectors that we can deputize,” he said.

In Cebu there are three NMIS-accredited slaughterhouses including Virginia Slaughterhouse & Meat Plant, Sunpride Foods, Inc. located in Mandaue City, and Talisay City Slaughterhouse, which is the only government-owned and run facility in Cebu.

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