Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How safe is your lechon?

Animal meat is one of the most common foods for humans, a source of protein, fats and carbohydrates. It may refer to organs, including lungs, liver, skin, brains, bone marrow, kidneys and a variety of other internal organs as well as blood.

But animal meat can also be a source of toxic and cancer through the feeds and medicines of banned drugs used on the live animal and acquired by human after it is butchered and eaten.

Dr. Arturo de Jesus Jr., regional director of the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), said animal meat can be a carrier of contagious diseases if not properly slaughtered and inspected.

De Jesus added that there is a need to drum up support from the respective local governments in creating an ordinance adopting the implementation of RA 9296.

RA 9296 or the Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines, governs the procedures on the flow of food animals, meat and meat products through the various stages of marketing and the proper preservation and inspection of such products.

It also ensures food security and provides safety and quality standards for consumer products related to agriculture to assure the protection of the public against reasonable risks of injury and hazards to health.
For De Jesus, the establishment of slaughter houses in every town in Zamboanga del Sur and the provision of trained personnel authorized to conduct meat inspection from the NMIS will help see to it that meat serve in the table is safe.

He disclosed that, so far, Pagadian City and six other towns in the province have established slaughter houses and these were accredited by their office.

Aside from the city, De Jesus identified those which passed the standard as that of Molave, Mahayag, Dumingag, Guipos, Margosatubig and Bayog.

Four accredited inspectors do their rounds in checking the meat supply and activities in the said abattoirs.

Other municipalities also have their own slaughter houses but these were not accredited by NMIS, De Jesus disclosed, and no personnel were authorized to conduct meat inspection.

“We need to protect the consuming public because is also the vehicle of transmittable diseases if these are not properly inspected,” he said.

“We encourage the public to be aware and if possible, to look for the necessary permit on certification from the meat inspector on date before buying the meat, especially the lechon,” the NMIS official added.

De Jesus then advised that even for personal consumption, those who maintain improvised slaughter house in their backyard may do so with the use of bamboos for flooring and should be a few feet above the ground.

But still, meat inspectors are needed in order to check the slaughtered meat, he said.

The meat inspectors do this by touching, visual or physical examination, smelling and palpation. Sometimes, they take a sample and conduct a laboratory examination.