6M kilos of expired meat slipped through Customs?

Posted at 08/12/14 6:06 PM

Customs asks SINAG to give more details so they can check

MANILA - Hog raisers and agriculture stakeholders today raised alarm over the entry of around 6 million kilos of expired imported meat that did not undergo quarantine and safety tests.

“We’re calling on agriculture secretary Proseso Alcala and Bureau of Commission Commissioner John Philip Sevilla to immediately investigate this matter. Bakit nakakalabas sa BOC ng walang quarantine clearance at bakit walang quarantine officer to check on the imported meat?” asked Rosendo So, chairman of the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG).

Citing data obtained from the Bureau of Customs, SINAG said 121.6 million kilos of imported pork meat were released by the agency from January to June this year.

However, official data from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) revealed that only 116 million kilos passed through quarantine inspection, SINAG added.

“To protect consumer welfare, the BAI Director and all meat importers should also come forward and disclose the amount of meat they imported this year; when these arrived; their quarantine inspection certificates; where the meat were delivered; and the names of the companies or restaurant chains that received said imports,” said Vicente Mercado, Chair of the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NFHFI).

The issue comes on the heels of a meat scandal in China where Shanghai Husi Company – a major supplier to fast-food chains like McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut – were found to be supplying expired meat.

The agriculture stakeholders said Filipino consumers should patronize freshly slaughtered meat.

“No country allows the resale of frozen meat as chilled and no country should ever allow thawed frozen meat to be passed off and sold as fresh meat,” Mercado said.

“These meat importers have no business in the food industry as they pose the greatest threat to our public health security. Kung gusto nila, sila na lang ang kumain at ‘wag na idamay ang pamilya at mga anak natin,” So added.

In a statement, Sevilla thanked Sinag for bringing the issue to the BOC's attention.

"We will invite SINAG to a discussion on their findings. We would like further details and hope that they can provide specifics—such as which import entries they are referring to—so that we can check for discrepancies and isolate dubious entries. We will also touch base with the Bureau of Animal Industry so that we can validate the data," he said.