Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Butcher fees dip with ‘hot meat’

TO ensure the safety of meat consumed, the butchering of all hogs, large cattle and goats should be done inside the slaughter house irregardless of the purpose to which it will be butchered, Lauro Mendoza, head of the slaughter house, said.

This practice, he added, would count up to more income for the city also, as fees will be collected from the slaughtered animals while the meat will be certified as safe and uncontaminated.

But in spite of a local ordinance mandating the same, “hot meat” continues to proliferate in the city. “Hot meat” is the term given to those hogs slaughtered outside the city’s abattoir in Brgy. Napolan.

This illegal slaughtering activity in the city needs to be controlled, explained Mendoza that is why the need for a task force to monitor the city market every morning and apprehend erring butchers and vendors.

A source from the city market told this paper that some meat shops operating in Pagadian and those in the lechon business slaughter hogs in their own yard and sell these for public consumption.

This is a clear violation of RA 9296, the Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines, said Olympio Yecpot of the National Meat Inspection Service office, as the butchered animal meat needs to be properly butchered and inspected in the slaughter house.

For her part, Lucille Juros, City Economic Enterprises (CEE) operations officer, sees a third-quarter slide in net income and revenues for 2009 attributed to low collections of slaughter house fees.

Juros stated that slaughter house collections trimmed down to P5,144,721.64 this year compared to the P5,781, 327.05 in 2008.

This year-end trend in slaughter fees cost the local government an estimated losses of about P646,605.41—the actual difference from the 2008 and 2009 figures.

A comparative report from the CEE showed 952,987 kilos of hogs were butchered in 2009, slightly lower than that of 2008 figures which reached 1,080,028 kilos.

Mayor Samuel Co, when told of this observation, said he will develop a strategy and effect a comprehensive investigation of all “hot meat” through an executive order to be named “Bantay Karne” (BANKA), the same idea thought of by Yecpot, Mendoza and Juros.

“Naa na koy nadawat nga report bahin ana, tinuod na,” Co said.

A draft paper of BANKA will designate Co as the chairman, the vice mayor as and the chair of the committee on market as co-chairs and the heads of the PNP, DENR/CENRO, city legal officer, CEE officer, City Veterinarian, Chief of Security and Patrol 117 chief as members.

BANKA, according to the draft, will formulate implementing policies and guidelines to safeguard the slaughtering of hogs in the locality and to cause fines and other forms of penalties on any violations of existing rules and regulations.

The Taskforce will also be responsible in instituting appropriate measures in the buy and sell of meat and meat products and its prices, establish a feedback mechanism, formulate programs aimed at affecting full compliance of standards in meat handling and distribution and secure all possible means in ensuring that all meat and meat products are clean and safe for consumption.