Tainted meat claims in Bahrain denied
Manama, January 29, 2014
Three ministers were questioned in parliament yesterday amid claims rotten meat is being sold in Bahrain.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro, Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi and Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi were summoned to answer allegations that public health could be at risk, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It comes after a parliament investigation concluded meat was being improperly transported and stored by the Bahrain Livestock Company (BLC) and unhygienic conditions at the Manama Central Market.
Probe committee chairman MP Adnan Al Malky delivered a presentation outlining the various violations found on the chamber's big screens.
However, Al Shehabi said only safe products got into the hands of consumers.
"We don't allow any rotten meat to be sold in the market and in all phases, whether at customs or butcher shops, we are there to check on every carcass," he said.
"It has been two years since we submitted the new public health law to parliament and it has not yet been discussed. With it our work to monitor meat will see much more improvements.
"Bahrain follows international and GCC standards and meat doesn't enter the market unless it meets all criteria.
"One problem means it doesn't get sold and I dare anyone to tell me if a single person has got sick over the years because of meat."
Dr Al Ka'abi said veterinary experts were employed by his ministry to follow up all procedures in relation to cattle imports.
"If we have a doubt over any shipment we immediately confiscate it and execute the animals," he said.
"We don't depend on health certificates attached with shipments, but on our laboratory analysis, despite those certificates being stamped by other GCC countries."
Dr Fakhro admitted the BLC had committed violations and it should be closely monitored, but said the ministry had dedicated staff from its consumer protection directorate observing markets.
"The ministry doesn't own the company and our work is mainly on the availability of meat at set prices and to ensure it is presented in a proper manner," he said.
MPs later agreed on 22 recommendations that were referred to the Cabinet for study.
They include enforcing international standards on the import of meat, increasing veterinary inspectors and giving them judicial powers and prosecuting importers who bring in rotten meat. - TradeArabia News Service
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