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Meat rule changes delayed

Update: August, 24/2012 - 10:44

HA NOI — The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said work on amending regulations on the sale of raw meat would take longer than expected, as authorities weigh up public feedback on the legislation.

Deputy minister Diep Kinh Tan said the amended circular would regulate classifications on types of raw meat sold and management of meat sales to ensure raw meat was safe for consumption.

He said the new regulations would miss their deadline of early September. Earlier regulations issued at the beginning of August mandated that unfrozen raw meat and its by-products be on sale counters within eight hours after slaughter.

The duration may be extended to 72 hours, when products are kept at zero to five degrees Celsius. Stomachs and intestinal organs kept at zero to five degrees Celsius must be on sale within 72 hours after slaughter.

Raw meat and its by-products must be sealed by departments of Animal Health and sellers will not be permitted to add any preservative substances.

Nguyen Phuong, a trader at a market in Ha Noi, said it is common for pig and poultry products to be sold on street stands - and they are usually sold from early morning to late afternoon, with almost no adequate preservation methods used.

She said she doubted regulations on sale of raw meat would be feasible, even with amendments.

Instead, relevant authorities should think about giving assistance to retail traders to buy the necessary facilities to keep meat frozen or fresh. This will be one of the conditions to ensure the regulations really come into force, she said.

Moves to ensure the safety of meat sales come after recent cases of food poisoning due to rancid meat.

Statistics from the Central Steering Committee on food safety and hygiene showed that nearly 90 cases of food poisoning with more than 2,400 victims occurred during the first six months of the year.

Last week, one died and four were hospitalised in Gia Lai Province's Ayunpa Commune after eating substandard meat which was then found to contain Clostridium Perfringens bacterium, a cause to food poisoning. — VNS

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