Meat off the menu in Bahrain restaurants
Manama, September 27, 2012
Meat is off the menu at some restaurants and households around Bahrain as a result of a severe shortage in the market.
The country's carnivores are being denied some of their favourite dishes - with no fresh meat at Muharraq Central Market yesterday and at least one popular restaurant chain serving only seafood and chicken dishes.
Meanwhile, sources said the Bahrain Livestock Company (BLC) slaughterhouse was empty and had been for days.
Imported frozen meat is available, but retailers and restaurants said they preferred locally supplied fresh meat since it was cheaper and of better quality.
Authorities announced last Thursday that 10,000 live sheep were being imported into Bahrain after previous shipments were turned away because they were contaminated.
Restaurants and retailers are reporting erratic supplies, while butchers have repeatedly threatened to strike over the quality of chilled meat flown in from abroad.
Beef is also scarce, although the Muharraq Municipal Council issued a statement yesterday saying it had received assurances from Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro that red meat would be available to butchers in the area and the problem would be resolved today.
"There is no livestock in the (BLC) slaughterhouse and there hasn't been for days," sources told the GDN.
"The only meat we are getting is chilled from India and Pakistan, but we haven't been slaughtering animals in Bahrain.”
"We have nothing to slaughter locally, but we are in the process of getting some.”
"The last shipment was rejected, but we have ordered from Australia and it is on the way. I don't know when it will arrive. It all depends on the handling companies, but hopefully soon."
A butcher at one supermarket said only frozen beef was available and there were no fresh supplies locally.
"Beef supplies are very low," he said. "We have no local beef, only frozen. I can't find any in the market. The local beef sells for about BD1.200 ($3.19) a kilo and it is fresh, but the chilled meat we have is much more expensive so not many people want them. It is also not as fresh.”
"We are not having a problem with local lamb or mutton, just the beef, but the supplier said that by the end of this week we should be getting more."
One restaurant employee said it was only receiving around half of the meat it needed.
"The supplier is only getting us about half of what we ordered," said the employee at Hot Pot, in Gudaibiya.
"They said that there is a shortage. We cook Asian cuisine which requires fresh beef, like the soups, so the local supply is very important.”
"The problem is that meat is too expensive from abroad and it is not fresh. Also, there is a very different flavour so we can't use it in some of our dishes. It is worrying if the local lamb and beef are running out.”
"In the meantime, I have been using beef from abroad, we are not changing the prices of the dishes - so the burden is on us.”
"I hope that all will go well as the suppliers have assured me that the meat problem will be solved before Eid."
A Yum Yum Tree official said they expected the fresh meat shortage to continue "for a little while".
"There is a meat shortage and it has been going on for two weeks," they said.
"We are not getting the fresh ones (meat cuts) and the best ones, like we used to.
"Even if we have to get more expensive international meat we will not put that burden on our customers.”
"The local meat we get is of the best quality, so if there is a shortage we will have to make do with what we have because we will not compromise on quality." – TradeArabia News Service