Politics in ‘chorizo’-A A +A
Friday, January 28, 2011
AMIDST the worsening imbroglio that has enmeshed the meat industry in Metro Cebu in the past few weeks came the revelation that home-made sausages or chorizos were found in a test to be contaminated with bacteria. The samples tested were taken from displays in wet markets.
The chorizo is one of the most popular breakfast foods among our low and middle income consumers, not only because it is cheap but also because it smells, and is, truly delicious. Diet-conscious consumers, though, may say that chorizo is a cholesterol-loaded food.
The chorizo, unfortunately, has become a pawn in the clash of wills between meat importers and local hog raisers. The bone of contention, of course, is the market.
The problem came to a head with the issuance of an executive order requiring imported meat to be marketed frozen. But the EO did not similarly require domestic meat dealers to deep-freeze their products in our wet markets. In fact, it is said that public slaughter houses in Cebu and Mandaue cities have not passed the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) standard.
The best arbiter here is decidedly the testing of samples randomly collected from various sources and markets. The results, if the laboratories conducting the test are competent and reliable, will then resolve the conflict.
As for the chorizo—-a sausage made of ground pork and spices and stuffed into pig intestines—-the lab test was done by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) at the instance of a party-list lawmaker.
The result, as released by the DOST 7 director, said that homemade sausage samples “taken from some vendors in the public markets in three Metro Cebu cities showed the products contained staphylococcus (s. aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) and are unfit for human consumption.”
Well, I was not quite gravely alarmed being fed with such strange scientific names. But when the lab test showed the samples to contain E. coli, or fecal bacteria, I felt like vomiting. I think the time has come when people concerned should lay aside political concerns and stand firmly for public interest.
What the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) needs to do is boldly step forward and assume the responsibility of informing the public the real story behind the imbroglio. The DVMF chief should supervise the laboratory testing and come out with objective results, untainted by any personal or political bias, for the sake of truth.
We owe this to our President who appears to be trying his best to be a good leader of the republic.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 29, 2011.