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A Guide on How to Source Safe and Quality Meat

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Food safety is always important in the sourcing of meat, like pork. From production, marketing, storage, and distribution, meat goes through a lot of stages. Here, we will discuss pork meat safety practices as it gets to the consumer. This is a guide to The Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines–from inspection, labelling, sanitation, and awareness–and we hope you’ll find this local guide helpful in sourcing safe and quality meat.

Careful Inspections

In Philippine pork meat safety, there are two kinds of inspections for local meat: ante-mortem and post-mortem.

Ante-mortem inspections are done with live swine. This is when animals are checked for any diseases or defects that would make meat unfit for human consumption. If the live pigs do not pass this inspection, they are marked ‘condemned’, and are immediately isolated and properly disposed of. This preliminary inspection also includes checking on slaughtering methods of food animals as they have to match up with the Animal Welfare Act of 1998.

If your swine passes the above food safety stage, it’s time for the post-mortem inspection. This includes systematic scanning of carcasses and parts of food animals. To ensure food safety, meat products that don’t pass the cut are condemned and will remain in the custody of the inspector until required treatments and disposal methods are done. Only slaughtered food animals, inspected and passed by inspectors, make it to the market.

Apart from local meat, imported meat also goes through inspection via laboratory analysis of samples. Imported meat products that don’t pass pork meat safety regulations include those that are contaminated, rotten, poisonous, or toxic, among other things. Basically, these are animal products that are unsafe for human consumption.

Importance of Labelling

‘Inspected and Passed’ are the magic words for meat producers. This label means that the surveyed meat is ready for trade both locally and internationally. It also helps consumers get accurate traceability information on the meat. So for hog producers who try to come up with false or misleading labels, the law states that they can be fined PhP 100,000 to PhP 1,000,000 or punished by imprisonment from 6-12 years.

Safety in Sanitation

In pork meat safety, production, storage, and distribution of meat need to be of the highest standard. So Good Manufacturing Practices and Sanitation Standard Operation are regulated by NMIS and PMIS when it comes to pork meat hygiene.

For establishments that perform well in their compliance to sanitation standards, incentives are given. For those who operate below national standards for hygiene and sanitation, on the other hand, closure is recommended.

And as we need to ensure that the quality and safety of meat and meat products are up to standard, internationally recognized grades, recommendations, and guidelines are practiced in the Philippines.

Consumer Awareness 

All the above stages are irrelevant if the consumers and producers alike are not familiar with them. That’s why NMIS, along with other concerned units, also hold proper information dissemination. These efforts are on proper handling and preparation, storing, processing, preservation of meat and meat products.

Food safety is crucial in our everyday lives. And as pork is the most widely eaten meat in the Philippines and in the world, pork meat safety is essential in sourcing quality meat. Healthy and hygienic food production depends on your knowledge of safe handling practices.

Sources:

https://ap.fftc.org.tw/article/720

http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/themes/en/meat/backgr_sources.html

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