Ban on meat sold outside 8-hour window lifted
Updated : 09/01/2012 12:16 GMT + 7
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued an official decision to lift a proposed ban on ‘8-hour meat’.
The proposed ban, issued in July and expected to take effect two days from now, regulated that pig meat could only be sold within 8 hours of the slaughter of the pigs. The rule, targeting raw meat processing and trading facilities, was intended to increase food hygiene and safety.
The decision to remove this proposal does not cite the reasons but earlier the agriculture deputy minister Diep Kinh Tan told Tuoi Tre that the feasibility is low.
“For example, what is 8-hour meat? who’s in charge of inspection? what kind of punishment?”
Earlier, the ministry issued the circular saying that raw meat preserved at room temperature would only be allowed to be sold within eight hours of the time of slaughtering.
"In case the meat is preserved under 0 – 5 degrees Celsius, the time limit is 72 hours", the circular said.
Immediately, meat traders voiced opposition while consumers and experts were skeptical.
Raw meat usually remains on sale in markets across Ho Chi Minh City until late in the afternoon, traders said, adding lawmakers do not understand anything about the business.
“I am wondering if they know that meat traders are facing hard business times,” said Nguyen Thi Yen, who sells pork in Go Vap market.
Yen sources the meat from the Hoc Mon wholesale market on a daily basis, and it takes two to three hours to transport the product.
“I then spend nearly an hour cleaning and putting the meat in my booth, which means there are only five hours left to sell the product within the required time,” she said.
The problem, consumers say, is that no one knows how long the meat has been on sale, or what they can do to detect raw meat that was slaughtered more than eight hours before the time of their purchase.
Even if there are inspectorates to handle the checkups, this may result in under-the-table payments as traders may bribe officials to obtain certification stating that their meat is still eligible for sale, many say.