Government has embarked on an operation code-named ‘Nyama Yabvepi’ with the intention of taking diseased meat off the market.
Chief Director in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Doctor Josphat Nyika revealed at a presser yesterday that government has scaled up police operations amid illegal sell of carcasses.
“As a result of reports that the public is exposed to un-inspected meat, police presence at various check points is going to be up scaled.
“In the next few days there will be operation ‘Nyama yabvepi’ and this will be done by the police, veterinary services, Ministry of Health and local authorities to make sure that all culprits are brought to book.
“The department of veterinary services is working closely with the police to bring perpetrators to book.
“We urge all those with evidence to come forward and help bring sanity to the beef value chain.
“Reports can be made to the nearest police station or senior veterinary officials.
“All these departments are there to make sure that the public is safe.
“Usually this time, the price of meat goes down, demand is less than the supply and consumers then find cheap meat on the market and think it’s probably coming from contaminated beasts but we can’t rule it out that there are unscrupulous dealers out there,” explained Dr Nyika.
Asked on how the public will identify safe meat in various meat outlets, Dr Nyika explained:
“It is not easy to identify an animal that has died from natural causes, however, what is important is the source and we ask where are people getting the meat.
“The problem arises when people get meat from backyard meat sources.
“Abattoirs and butcheries are required by law to display their certificates for the ordinary public to indicate that it is registered.”
He said the Ministry of Lands had noted with concern the recent reports on social media of unscrupulous operator in the beef value chain.
“Following shocking postings on social media that abattoirs operators, butcheries and supermarkets were selling un-inspected meat derived from sick and dead meat animals, a team of veterinary public health officers carried out an extensive investigations to verify the authenticity of the allegations.
“The team could not find evidence to support the media claims that meat derived from sick and dead animals were entering into human food chain.
“Under no circumstances are movement permits issued to sick or dead animals.
“If sick animals or dead animals are detected at ante-mortem inspections, those animals are not processed through the abattoirs, but are condemned and destroyed by burning.
“The public is therefore advised to buy and consume meat that is roller marked in blue ink.
“Such meat is available from reliable major supermarkets and butcheries in Harare and most urban centres in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Dr Nyika said it was a criminal offence for all meat outlets to sell or display for sale meat that has not been processed in a registered slaughter house and inspected and certified as fit for human consumption.