GENERAL SANTOS CITY(MindaNews/20 December)– Government meat inspectors in Region 12 have seized some 220 kilograms of illegally-slaughtered pork as it intensified its monitoring activities against “hot meat” products in connection with the celebration of the Yuletide season.
Dr. Ariel Billones, National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) Region 12 director, said Friday they are currently conducting random inspections in various “lechon” (roasted pig) houses and meat outlets in the region to ensure the safety and quality of meat products that are being sold in the area.
Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The official said the illegally-slaughtered pork were confiscated by their inspection team from four of the six “lechon” houses that they visited this week in nearby Koronadal City.
“The seized meat products were from animals that were not processed at the (Koronadal City) slaughterhouse and have not undergone the required quality inspection,” he said in a radio interview.
Billones said they donated the confiscated meat products to charitable institutions in the area following the evaluation of their quality.
NMIS, which is tasked to monitor the meat industry process from the slaughterhouse to the markets, noted in a briefer that “hot meat” products (“botcha”) “can be fit for human consumption but did not pass the necessary sanitary standards.”
Under Republic Act 9296, which is also known as the Meat Inspection Code, and the Consumer Act of the Philippines, meat products that were unable to pass the sanitary and quality standards should be confiscated by NMIS.
Aside from the “lechon” houses, Billones said they will conduct more random “surprise” inspections in the next two weeks in meat outlets and wet markets of department stores as well as shopping malls in the area.
He said they would not hesitate to confiscate and impose sanctions on any meat outlet or establishment that would be found selling “hot meat” products.
“Legitimate meat products are those with proper markings from the slaughterhouse and the NMIS. These products are considered of top quality and are from animals that are free from diseases,” he said.
Billones advised local consumers to always check for the presence of the NMIS and slaughterhouse marks when buying any meat product.
He also urged local meat processors and traders to abide by the standard regulations to avoid facing possible sanctions and confiscation of their products. (MindaNews)