Sunday, June 27, 2010

Slaughterhouse Crackdown

The Ministry of Commerce announced a crackdown on livestock and poultry slaughter to assure the public that meat is safe. The crackdown reflects widespread problems and public concern about meat quality and safety. Reports of underground slaughter, sale of meat from sick or dead animals, adulteration of meat with clenbuterol, lax inspection, faked licenses, and pumping pigs with water have been chronicled on this blog and I have other reports I haven't posted yet.

The livestock and poultry slaughter quality and safety remediation program, beginning this month and running until December, was announced jointly by the Ministries of Commerce, Agriculture, Public Security Bureau, Industry and Commerce Bureau, Food and Drug Administration, and Agency for Quarantine and Inspection.

The remediation program identifies several areas for attention. The first is the slaughter and sale of sick and dead animals. Other matters include the use of clenbuterol and other harmful substances in animals slaughtered and pumping water or other substances into animals prior to slaughter.

Another big emphasis is to crack down on slaughter by underground slaughterhouses. There is a network of approved slaughterhouses, but many animals are actually slaughtered by small butchers, and some of them borrow, rent, or forge licenses, signs and certificates of officially-sanctioned slaughterhouses. The remediation program will crack down on these practices, conduct regional inspections, and revoke licenses of companies they catch.

The program aims to tighten control and inspection of the entire chain from farm to restaurant to ensure quality. Make sure inspectors check up on equipment, procedures, quality and health of animals entering the slaughterhouse, and quality and safety of products coming out the other end. Restaurants and merchants are supposed to use invoices, establish record systems, and be able to identify the slaughterhouse meat came from.

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