MANILA, Philippines ? A few days after the Ebola-Reston virus hit hog farms in Luzon, health officials in Quezon City seized over 1,000 kilos of double dead meat at the Balintawak market before dawn Friday.
City veterinarian Dr. Ana Marie Cabel said they confiscated the spoiling pork after a routine nighttime inspection of markets for illegally slaughtered meat, as well as pork unfit for consumption.
?It is part of our regular inspection. We know that Balintawak is a dumping ground of double dead meat,? she told the Inquirer.
In a phone interview, she described the spoiling pork as foul smelling, very pale, and cold from being stored in blocks of ice.
She added that since the double dead meat came from a sick hog that died and was cut up for sale, its skin hair tended to stick to the fat even if it is dipped in boiling water.
?Maitim na rin ang balat ng double dead meat (even its hide is dark),? Cabel noted.
Meanwhile, she defined hot meat as illegally slaughtered meat which did not pass sanitary standards but can still be fit for human consumption.
Cabel?s team stumbled upon the meat, worth around P100,000, at around 1 a.m. Friday. They were however unable to arrest the vendor of the merchandise.
?We suspect this is coming from hog farms in Bulacan. But we have not yet identified the financier of this operation,? she added.
Cabel said they are upping their monitoring and inspection of markets after reports that the Ebola-Reston virus infected pigs in four hog farms in Luzon.
?We are always for the protection of the consuming public against this virus strain, thus we are doubling our inspections of meat vendors,? she explained.
The health official noted that there is a need to ensure that pork products to be consumed for the holidays are safe for eating.
?We are going after these vendors of hot meat and double dead pork to make sure that the pork we buy for Noche Buena are fresh and fit to eat,? Cabel added.
The pork was buried at the Payatas dump Friday morning to prevent unscrupulous residents from making use of the spoiled meat.