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Meat study recommends stiffer LGU penalties for violations blinking-NEW

A GOVERNMENT meat safety and quality study backs comprehensive regulations for slaughterhouses and more sanctions for local governments that fail to comply.

While programs in place have done much to improve existing slaughterhouse facilities and equipment, reduce backyard slaughtering, improve quality, and distribute more income from the meat trade to growers, the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) said in a statement yesterday that more needs to be done in the area of regulation.

The NMIS said the findings were contained in a study, the Impact Assessment on the Meat Establishment Improvement Program (MEIP) conducted along with Infoshare Management Systems, a private company, covering 31 local government unit (LGU) beneficiaries across the country.

In the span of 11 years since 2007, the beneficiaries included 28% which are AA accredited; 44% locally registered meat establishments (LRME), and 28% non-operational.

Slaughterhouses in class “AA” can sell meat outside of their locality while LRMEs are limited to municipal distribution only.

The study evaluated the impact of the MEIP on institutional development and governance, optimization of the supply value chain, and socioeconomic benefits on participants.

“Among the supply value chain participants for swine, the hog raisers have the highest net income per kilogram at Php 48.65. But when the volume of production is factored in, an average livestock raiser would net around Php33,000. This is less than one fifth of what the dealer would make, even in net income per kilogram of beef,” according to the statement.

The MEIP report found that beneficiary LGUs got a boost to their incomes to potentially to fund other projects or meet obligations to creditors and constituents’ needs.

Among the key recommendations were for the government to compel LGUs to enact a comprehensive slaughterhouse ordinance immediately upon a slaughterhouse’s launch, to institutionalize the fees being collected.

A Food Safety and Meat Inspection Act should also be adopted to ensure food safety.

“By integrating the two Acts, food safety could be assured up to the level when consumers purchase the meat from dealers and retailers,” according to the presentation materials prepared by Infoshare.

Meat establishments are premises approved by the NMIS to slaughter, prepare, process, handle, pack, or store animals or meat.

LGUs can become MEIP beneficiaries via application, project proposal and other relevant requirements submitted to the NMIS regional office.

LGUs must also include in their proposal the amount they are willing to put up for the project in order that the NMIS can provide counterpart funds needed for completion on a 50:50 basis.

-- Janina C. Lim. Business World Online