NMIS – CAR Regional Technical Director Lilia Julian Fermin, said it is understandable that people affected by the COVID pandemic are venturing into online businesses including meat products to augment their family’s income but it is equally important to ensure meat safety and quality assurance with respect to public health standards.
“There are certain requirements that need to be complied when engaging in meat trade because meat is highly perishable food that may cause harmful effects when un-hygienically handled or subjected to thermal abuse during any stage of process and distribution and eventually consumed by the public,” Fermin explained.
In line with the NMIS continuing commitment to ensure consumer protection, Memorandum Circular 07 – 2020 – 017 issued by Executive Director Dr. Reildrin Morales sets protocols on online meat selling to ensure public health and safety and aligned to the “new normal” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NMIS highly recommends that online sellers/traders of meat are registered with the Department of Trade and Industry and have a business permit from the local government unit. It also encourages meat sellers to be knowledgeable and implement the meat safety measures under Republic Act 9296 or the Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines and its amending laws, RA 10536 and RA 10611, which strengthen the country’s food safety regulation system.
To ensure that the meat is safe and fit for human consumption, NMIS also calls on traders/sellers to source out their meat products from NMIS licensed meat establishments or from local government- registered meat establishments (LRME). When selling meat, its transport and handling must be in accordance with the guidelines set by the Department of Agriculture.
NMIS- certified meat can be traded outside the locality of the meat source while LRME- certified meat products can only be traded within its locality - city or municipality.
The meat sold online must be accompanied with either a Meat Inspection Certificate of Certificate of Meat Inspection as uncertified products shall be considered “hot meat” and can be subjected to regulation of NMIS. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)
By Carlito C. Dar