By Chito Chavez
As panic and alarm could be sparked anew with the discovery of African swine flu (ASF)-infected products in two local supermarkets, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) should be investigated for issuing documentations and certifications guaranteeing the food items as free from any disease.
Belmonte said that, even before Christmas, she was already informed that the Department of Agriculture (DA) will investigate the NMIS on how one of the supermarkets was able to obtain a certification for the ASF-tainted meat products.
“The meat in both groceries had all the proper documentation from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) as well as Certifications from BAI that the suppliers are ASF free,’’ Belmonte said.
Belmonte revealed that her office “have yet to receive a copy of this report’’.
She noted it was premature to impose any sanctions on the supermarkets without having read, reviewed and evaluated the report.
However, if after a thorough review and the report “yields evidence of bad faith’’, Belmonte vowed appropriate sanctions against the concerned parties.
With this development, the public has now questioned how they can be assured the meat products they are buying will be ASF-free.
Even Belmonte described the turn of events as terrifying since no meat in supermarkets is supposed to be sold without the NMIS certification.
The freezers of the said supermarkets are now padlocked with the ASF tainted meat products seized.
Steven Cua, president of the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarket Association, explained that there was extreme difficulty for supermarket owners to determine if the pork had the NMIS certificate since they are all delivered in packs.