Sunday, June 23, 2024

Consumers exposed to diseased meat in absence of regular surveys


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By Lamphrang Nongspung

SHILLONG: Recent reports about worm-infested pork meat being sold in the markets of Shillong has created quite a scare among the local people. Mr Daminot Wankhar a resident of Lumparing who detected the worms in the pork had bought it from a meat shop at Motphran.

The news was first reported in a local television news channel. Those who watched the news saw the worms emerging out of the flesh of the pork meat. They found it so hideous that they arbitarily decided to stop consuming pork. Some even threw away the meat they had purchased after watching the news.

Mr Wankhar said on reaching home he asked his maid-servant to wash the meat before putting it inside the freezer. Strangely, while washing the meat with warm water, the maid-servant suddenly saw two big mature worms wriggling to come out of the fleshy part of the meat. Mr Wankhar says he will hand over the meat to experts who can conduct an analysis about the presence of the worms inside the meat.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner of Food Safety SN Sangma said that they are taking a serious note of this news report.

“We have decided to put a strong surveillance team to closely monitor the meat which is on sale for consumption across the State. Besides pork, we will also be carrying surveillance on beef, chicken and mutton to ensure that the meat which is to sold is free from any disease,” Sangma said.

He said that the decision to carry out a surveillance of all meat sold in the markets is part of the national programmes which is being observed for this whole year.

“We have already done the surveillance on vegetables and ready to eat food items,” the Deputy Commissioner of Food Safety said.

Meanwhile, Sangma asserted that they would take all possible steps to put in place a strong monitoring mechanism to ensure that that people consumes healthy and safety food.

When asked about a possible solution to address this immediate problem about the presence of the worms inside the pork meat, he said that the only way is to insist upon the farmers that give the de-worming medicines to ensure that the pigs are free from worm infestations.

“The department has no control over this since de-worming medicines will have to be given at the rearing stage and pigs are reared by individual farmers. The Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department can step to create awareness among the farmers on the de-worm the pigs they rear,” Sangma added. Sangma also suggested that there is a need to do a pre-mortem exercise of the animals before they are slaughtered to find out it they are diseased.

“This is the best possible option to withdraw diseased animals before they are slaughtered. This will ensure that only healthy animals are being slaughtered,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department Dr JS Jyrwa said that the department has been distributing the de-worming medicines for free.

“It is impossible on our part to approach each and every farmer to avail the de-worming medicines. We cannot force the farmers who are rearing pigs to use the medicines,” he said, adding that the Department had however been trying its best to explain to farmers the importance of de-worming their pigs.

When ask if the department can carry out the post-mortem exercise on animals, he said that it is not mandated by any law to carry out such exercise especially in areas outside its jurisdiction.

“The conduct of pre-mortem and post-mortem on animals will be an integral part once the slaughter house at Mawlai Mawiong is commissioned,” the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department director informed.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety DBS Mukhim said that after studying this particular case, she strongly suspects that the de-worming medicine was not given to the pig.

“The worms in the pork were fully matured. This clearly indicates that farmers did not bother to de-worm the pigs,” Mukhim said.

While pointing out that the presence of parasites in animals is a common thing, she said that the only thing that the farmers needs to do is to deliver the anti-worming medicines every three months.

“This will help to control the presence of worms inside the pigs,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety said that despite the presence of these worms, it is completely safe to take such meat.

“The only thing is that one needs to cook it properly in high intensity heat to ensure that all the worms and the eggs completely die,” Mukhim said

Further, she informed that she would be sending the pork meat to the ICAR to conduct a study about the presence of these mature worms.

Meanwhile, a pork meat seller from Iewduh said that such cases are one in a thousand pigs and it happens because of the carelessness of the pig rearing farmers.


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