Bahrain ‘free of contaminated meat’
Manama, August 13, 2013
Bahrain is free of meat products contaminated with pork and horsemeat, according to a top Health Ministry official.
Twenty-two imported frozen and canned meat brands were pulled from shelves earlier this month after being wrongly labelled beef.
Sixteen of the products, which were sold at supermarkets and fast food chains, were found to contain horsemeat and six others pork.
The results were discovered during random product testing by the Health Ministry in collaboration with laboratories at the Arabian Gulf University.
Ministry public and international relations director Abdulaziz Mohammed Al Rifai said Bahrain had since been given the all-clear following further analysis of the results.
"They (laboratories) tested all the meat products in the country and the results were examined in detail," he told the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"The tests were comprehensive and covered all imported products. After speaking with the director of the Health Ministry, he told me that no additional test will be required as the initial tests were extensive and all the concerned products had been flagged."
Bahrain has shared the test results with the rest of the GCC countries to warn them about the dangers of tainted meat.
"Following the test, as part of information exchange that Bahrain has with the rest of the GCC countries, we have informed them all of the results," said Al Rifai.
"The report has been given to all the countries and whether or not they use that information or conduct their own test is up to each country individually. Either way, Bahrain has removed all the tainted products from all its shelves and informed the rest of the GCC."
Consumer protection activists earlier demanded legal action be taken against individuals and companies responsible for bringing contaminated products to Bahrain.
Industry and Commerce Ministry consumer protection director Sinan Al Jaberi played down the impact of the scandal in Bahrain, which has been replicated in countries around the world.
"The items that were flagged were not very popular so there wasn't a big panic after the results," he said.
"Most of the products tainted with pork are targeted at and predominantly consumed by Filipinos who don't mind eating pork so we didn't hear many complaints from people worried about eating pork or horsemeat. Since the result, a ministerial decree was issued to stop the import of these items."
It is the second time this year that tainted meat products have been taken off the shelves in Bahrain. In February, Bahrain blacklisted all frozen meals made by Findus after reports revealed they contained horsemeat in them.
Up to 16 countries in Europe were affected by the scandal, which again involved products that were labelled beef. – TradeArabia News Service