Imported meat causes threat to public health08 February 2023
Staff Reporter :
As the amount of imported frozen beef and buffalo meat is increasing, it also brings more health risk among the mass people.
According to the data from the Bangladesh Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA), in every year the demand of imported meat has significantly rising and in recent years it imports on an average 10 to 12 thousand tonnes of red meat.
It is reported that for importing meats from abroad, importers are not following the standard procedures. As per the Import Policy-2021-24 notification that was issued in April 2022 by the Commerce Ministry, prior approval has to be taken from the Department of Livestock and Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) for import of meat. Importers are importing frozen meat after using the certificate from the laboratory of Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU) or Divisional Livestock Office, Chattogram which is the violation of the standard.
It is claimed the total import quantity is much higher than the official information. Frozen red meat is being imported through illegal channels. Those illegally brought meats do not follow the necessary conditions to import red meat which creates a serious health hazards on the common people.
For keeping the frozen meat fresh the dishonest traders mix various chemicals which are detrimental for health.
Illegal frozen meat is entering the country from the neighboring country India through various border points of Satkhira, Lalmonirhat, Jessore and Kurigram.
From several points of the capital, those meats are going to hotels-restaurants and neighbourhood meat shops. Those meats are being supplied to hotels starting from star hotels, super shops, and elite restaurants. Some hotels and restaurants have used the meat for kebabs and kalabunas. At least 40 to 50 maunds of packaged frozen meat mixed with beef are being sold in Karwan Bazar alone, according to the source.
While addressing the issue, Emdadul Haque Talukder, the Director General of the directorate of livestock, said that since the approval to import meat from abroad by export trade policy, we have received many applications, still we are not encouraging to import the frozen red meat.As the country produced over 8.44 million tonnes of meat in the previous fiscal year, against an annual demand of nearly 7.4 million tonnes.
Inquiries are being made regarding the illegal import of frozen meat including Buffalo meat. Several raids being conducted in suspicious shops, hotels and restaurants, he added.