THE recently created Provincial African Swine Fever (ASF) Task Force has issued a meat handling advisory, enjoining all local chief executives in Negros Occidental, through their respective market supervisors, to strictly regulate the sale of frozen meat among local markets.
This is in accordance to Section 7 of the Department of Agriculture Administrative Order 06, Series of 2012.
The task force, headed by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, works on ensuring that none of these products comes from ASF-affected countries.
The advisory states that frozen meat shall be kept at a product temperature not higher than zero degree Celsius during its handling, storage, distribution and sale.
The product shall be sold from display or chest freezers that maintain product temperature at a maximum of zero degree Celsius or lower.
"When frozen meat is cut into smaller blocks for retail sale, the cutting shall take place under temperature controlled conditions in an accredited and registered meat establishment or in a central cutting facility in the market," it added.
Other provisions included that vendors can continue to sell frozen meat provided its original quality and product temperature are maintained.
All meat sold at local markets must be properly inspected by the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS)-deputized meat inspectors and should come from locally registered meat establishment, the advisory stated.
Meat vendors are also advised not to sell "double dead meat" products and those that have not passed the inspection of the NMIS called "hot meat," it added.
The Provincial Veterinary Office, in a statement, said this is to safeguard that the consuming public will be protected against food-borne illnesses and communicable diseases posing serious health hazards to humans.
The cooperation of everyone is highly encouraged in keeping Negros Occidental an ASF-free province, it added.