‘Sell clean, safe meat products’
National Meat Inspection Service to closely monitor meat vendors
Meat dealers and vendors are advised to ensure selling clean and safe meat products this Christmas season.
Dr. Alvin Leal, National Meat Inspection Service in Central Visayas (NMIS-7) consumer assistance head, said their meat inspectors would closely monitor meat vendors and their stalls to check if they are following the NMIS orders and that their meat inspection certificates are displayed on their stalls.
Leal warned those vendors who violate safety standards would be sanctioned, and their meat products would be confiscated.
A cease and desist order would be issued against the person or firm engaged in the business, and a fine would be imposed.
Aside from that, depending on the extent of the violation, the meat vendor could be imprisoned.
“We are empowering the LGUs to implement meat inspection systems and empower consumers; to let consumers know about their responsibilities (in meat handling) because sometimes, the consumers themselves are the cause of meat contamination due to improper handling of meat,” said Leal during last week’s 888 News Forum at the Marco Polo Plaza hotel.
Leal also said that they are coordinating with the local government units in helping them in their monitoring especially with the coming holiday season where the demand of various meat products would be at its peak.
He said that LGUs are frontliners in ensuring that the sellers and consumers observe safe and sanitary practices keeping meat products clean and healthy from the time they are being purchased from the stalls to being served in the table.
The NMIS would also coordinate with LGUs in conducting awareness seminars for meat vendors and consumers on teaching or reminding them to properly handle, store, and cook meat products to avoid contamination.
According to Leal, to prevent contamination and spoilage of meat products as stipulated in the NMIS’ Administrative Order No. 5, fresh meat must be displayed in stalls within eight hours at most. Beyond this time, the meat will begin to discolor.
“If the meat shows signs of deterioration such as turning into green and emitting foul odor, the meat must be withdrawn from the stall immediately,” Leal said.
Leal said that meat inspection certificates play a vital role in identifying the time of deterioration of fresh meat products.
“The consumer must count eight hours since the date and time of the issuance of the meat inspection certificate to the vendor. This will help the consumers track the freshness of the meat product,” he said.
Discoloration and presence of foul odor in the meat is a sign of bacterial contamination that might cause diarrhea and other digestive problems to the consumer, said Leal.
Administrative Order No. 6 also mandates meat vendors to maintain specific product temperatures for for particular meat products to avoid immediate spoilage.
Leal urged the public to report their complaints to their office for complaints about fresh meat products or to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for complaints on processed meat products.
“If you happen to buy spoilt meat products, don’t cook them. Go back to the store where you bought them or go to NMIS to file a complaint,” he said.
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