Frozen imported meat poses health risks, DA warns

Manila, Philippines—The Department of Agriculture (DA) has warned that imported meat could be hazardous to health if not properly handled.

“Although imported meat is allowed to be sold in wet markets, vendors should observe the standards pertaining to maintaining its safety and quality,” said DA-National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) executive director Jane Bacayo.

“Frozen meat that are not handled properly poses a risk to the health of consumers,” Bacayo said during a meeting Wednesday with meat importers and traders at the NMIS office in Quezon City.

During the meeting, Bacayo presented a guideline that prescribes the rules in handling of imported meat when sold in wet markets.

“We owe it to the public. We should always consider their welfare in everything that we do especially when crafting guidelines that ensure the safety and quality of meat and meat products,” the official said.

Some vendors in Metro Manila and nearby provinces are complaining about the increasing presence of frozen meat in wet markets and are questioning about their safety.

The guideline prescribes that frozen meat when sold in wet markets have to be kept in a controlled environment that prevents it from thawing.

The vendors should avoid placing the meat directly in contact with dirty surfaces. It should also retain its original packaging.

Bacayo also warned consumers to look for the Meat and Meat Product Inspection Certificate when buying meat.

This document certifies that the meat they buy is free from any risk that might be hazardous to one’s health.

The guideline was signed last week by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and will take effect on December 12.

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