The National Meat Inspection Service-10 (NMIS) has said the 21 tons of dressed chicken from Luzon which they put on hold are fit for human consumption. Dr. Angelita Barcelona, NMIS-10 regional director, said they will conduct a secondary examination of the frozen product before it could be released to the market. photo by gerry lee gorit for mindanao daily news
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) in Manila has cleared the more than 21 tons of frozen dress chicken before it was shipped here, a government official said.
The food product was declared as safe for human consumption but they are put on hold at a cold storage facility in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, until further verification is conducted to ensure that they are not contaminated with the dreaded avian flu virus, said Dr. Angelita Barcelona, NMIS-10 regional director.
Barcelona said the tons of frozen chicken are under their control but they will be conducting further examination.
She said the NMIS-10 is not taking any chances and will reexamine the frozen broiler chicken before they are released to the local market.
The frozen chicken will remain safe for consumption for at least two years if kept in a cold storage, she said.
So far, the tons of dressed chicken were the first to be shipped to Mindanao at the height of the avian flu scare, “that’s why we will not clear it right away. If the owner will request for meat inspection certification, we will re-inspect it,” Barcelona added.
As of this writing, NMIS-10 has yet to divulge the identity of the product’s owner.
According to Barcelona, the frozen chicken was declared as bird flu-free by the NMIS office in Quezon City, clearing it for transport to Mindanao. It was transported on August 8.
The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), in its August 11 memorandum, disallows movement of live domestic and wild birds including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs and semen, and even manure, from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao, and from Pampanga to other parts of Luzon.
“This temporary ban will take effect until such time that no new cases are reported 21 days after the depopulation of the affected areas,” the memorandum said.
The memo was signed by Dr. Enrico Garzon Jr., DA Assistant Secretary for Livestock and BAI Director.
The shipment of the frozen chicken, the NMIS-10 regional director said, was in essence exempted from the ban as the clearance to transport it from Bulacan to Tagoloan was dated three days before the DA memorandum was issued.
Barcelona said they have yet to hear of reports of incidence of avian flu in the region but the NMIS-10 has remained on alert for possible cases of the illness that has already killed thousands of birds in poultry farms in some areas in Pampanga.
She said a meat inspector is assigned in all NMIS-accredited poultry processing facilities in Northern Mindanao to check if the chicken heads that are ready for slaughter are safe for human consumption and not afflicted with any disease.
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