DA orders crackdown on expired imported meat
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Agriculture is coordinating with local government units to crack down on imported meat that are being sold beyond the recommended date of consumption.
Agriculture Undersecretary Jose Reaño said on Thursday the DA-supervised National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) has been tasked to conduct spot inspections of warehouses or cold storage facilities used by importing companies in order to validate their stocks.
“NMIS and LGUs will also intensify their campaign against illegal meat, this time by thoroughly checking the expiry dates of meat products aside from other measures like looking for the proper marks and visual signs of freshness,” Reaño told reporters.
He said that violators would see their products confiscated and those who could not explain why they were selling expired meat would be hailed to court.
“We intend to ensure that meat and meat products sold in the country are not only fit for human consumption, but also contain the right expiry date limits even in frozen state,” he added.
These moves come in the wake of warnings from the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag)—an umbrella group of agribusiness operators, farmers and party-list groups—about expired imported meat being sold in local markets.
On Wednesday, Sinag chair Rosendo So said 5.6 million kilos of imported pork “deliberately did not pass quarantine inspection (because they) are expired or of questionable origin.”
Data from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) show that the agency released 121.6 million kilos of imported pork during the first half of this year while data from Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) show that 116 million kilos passed through quarantine inspections.
Regarding this, Reaño said he could not discount the possibility of certain cargos failing to undergo inspection by BAI quarantine officers upon their arrival in Philippine ports.
He said that the BAI has started a review of all documents pertinent to meat importation to check the discrepancy of the agency’s data against those of BOC.
“BAI committed to complete the review within the week, Reaño said.
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