MANILA, Philippines — BAI to recommend ban on beef, chicken importation from Brazil after almost 500 kilograms of beef and chicken meat tested positive of salmonella bacteria.
The meat products were part of the 18 shipments from Brazil that arrived between May 10 to June 20 this year.
The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) revealed that the shipments were already delivered to local meat processors before the result of the laboratory test was released.
But the agency has explained that the bacteria will eventually die upon cooking or when processed.
“It’s a [type of] food poisoning that would cause diarrhea but it is not fatal,” Bureau of Animal Industry director, Simeon Amurao said.
For this reason, BAI will recommend to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol to ban the importation of beef and chicken from Brazil while the national meat inspection service inspects all arriving shipments.
For their part, importers said the ban will affect fast-food chains. It will cause a spike in prices of canned and processed meat such as hotdogs that use beef and chicken.
They said BAI inspections should adhere with international guidelines.
“Within half million to five million population of bacteria [present in meat,] that meat is considered fit for human consumption,” Meat Importers and Traders Association president Jess Cham said.
Meanwhile, the price of pork in markets remains at P240 per kilogram while chicken is at P150.
Vendors say, even if they buy meat at a higher price from dealers, they cannot sell them at a higher price because they consider the capacity of their customers.
“They said hog feed is expensive,” said Len Mallado, a pork meat vendor at Nepa Q-Mart.
Chicken meat vendor Maila Frias said, “We don’t want to mark up because our customers are being burdened.”
BAI said the price of pork should go down because the farm gate price is now lower.
“The farm gate price before was P140. Now it’s P130. Perhaps agents and retailers are taking advantage of the situation,” DA Bureau of Animal Industry Simeon Amurao said. – Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue