DA to probe carabeef entry in wet markets.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking into the entry of Indian buffalo meat (carabeef) in some wet markets in the country, when it is supposed to be used for meat processing only.
'We are reviewing the Indian buffalo meat importation because there are some that are slipping into the market which is not supposed to happen,' Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said.
'There are some in Marikina and we are having it investigated. The Indian buffalo meat is just for processing and not for sale in the wet market,' he said.
Pinol, however, did not give the volume of the carabeef that entered wet markets.
The local processing meat industry imports Indian buffalo meat as a raw material for low-priced corned beef as this is relatively cheaper compared to locally available meat products.
'We are reviewing our importation guidelines. That is not for consumption, it is for processing grade. It should not be eaten as is so consumers should be prevented from buying,' Pinol said.
A source from the processing industry said the Indian buffalo meat is cheaper compared to the local cattle beef that is why some traders are illegally bringing carabeef in some markets.
'It is unlawful according to the DA. There was a lobby during the Ramos administration for the entry of Indian buffalo meat, but it was just for processing. Until now we only use that for processing,' the source said.
Health-wise, the source said there is really no harmful effect in eating carabeef as this has passed and fees given sanitary and phytosanitary certification.
'The allegation from hog raisers is that the Indian buffalo meat is being secretly sold to consumers especially those who have canteen businesses,' the source added. The Indian buffalo meat was allowed entry in the Philippines to give a cheaper alternative ingredient in the processing of corned beef as those coming from the US and Australia have relatively
higher price.?The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, meanwhile, wants the DA to immediately confiscate the Indian buffalo meat in the local markets.
The DA assured the public it is now investigating the matter. Once proven, the DA can order the cancellation of the import permits of traders for the imported meat product.