The Provincial Veterinary Office of Negros Occidental is intensifying its meat handling services to contain and prevent the spread of avian influenza viruses and other pathogens in the wet market.
The PVO, through its Animal Health and Inspection Services Division, and the Research and Laboratory Services Division, will get the help of the local government units to promote safe meat handling practices.
Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said they will provide guidelines, especially on the procurement of meat vans, meat shops, and upgrade of slaughterhouses, to address the harmful effects of contaminated pork and other meat products sold in the wet markets in the different parts of the province.
This came after the research on levels of microbial contamination in pork sold at selected wet markets in Negros Occidental, conducted by animal science students of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, found that there was high contamination in pork in some wet markets in the province.
The researchers recommended the improvement of meat handling and sanitation, Decena said, adding this is also a call for local government units to address the matter.
He said contamination may likely occur even before meat is made available in wet markets. “Exposure to contaminants often takes place during production, slaughtering, storage as well as during transport to the market,” he said.
Decena said that, despite government issuances to regulate and increase concern and awareness over food safety issues among consumers, particularly on meats at the wet market, the capability and competency of the meat industry in the province have not yet improved, in terms of quality control.
Factors that caused contamination of pork and meat products include poor handling and storage system, improper sanitation in the slaughterhouse, transporting of meat products and exposure to air, he said.
Decena said the PVO will adopt the research results, adding that government intervention, through the enforcement of stronger institutional regulations on public health and food safety, is important.*
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