January 29, 2023

The National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) is reminding the public to consume and buy meat only from retailers who had their products certified and inspected by the agency.
NMIS-Cordillera OIC Technical Director Domingo Gonzaga said compared to uninspected meat, certified meats have undergone inspection and are guaranteed safe for human consumption. To be issued an NMIS certificate, one of the requirements is for an animal to be slaughtered and butchered in a slaughterhouse.
However, consumption of meat from animals that were not butchered and slaughtered in a slaughterhouse remains a practice among Filipinos because of tradition, especially during big occasions, including indigenous rituals.
Gonzaga said any meat taken from an animal that is not butchered or slaughtered in a slaughterhouse are considered “hot meat.”
Hot meat is the carcass or parts of carcass or food animals which were slaughtered from unregistered or unaccredited meat establishments and have not undergone inspection.
He said consumption of meat and meat products that did not undergo inspection by NMIS might not be safe as this did not undergo the layers of inspection being done to ensure that the animal is free of any disease before these are sold in stores and markets.
For those slaughtering and butchering animals outside of accredited slaughterhouses, Gonzaga suggested to coordinate with the local agriculture office if only to ensure that the animal/s about to be slaughtered is healthy and the animal is handled humanely.
“Para makita rin na ang pagkatay is in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act,” Gonzaga said, albeit stressing that strictly speaking, the National Meat Inspection Code does not give any exemption even if a food animal is used for indigenous rituals or part of a family tradition.
To ensure that meat is safe for consumption, the NMIS follows two types of inspection: ante-mortem or monitoring of the live animal for any abnormal behavior or physical indicators of disease prior to slaughtering; and post-mortem or checking of the carcass for the presence of pathogens if any.
“Certification of meats for human consumption involves a detailed, scientific process that can only be done in slaughterhouses,” Gonzaga said in a press conference where the NMIS was a panelist as part of the celebration of Consumer Welfare Month.
Gonzaga said the NMIS is open to a dialogue with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and IP organizations on how to address implementation of the Meat Code while also respecting customs and traditions. – Rimaliza A. Opiña