By Olayinka Olawale
Lagos – The Lagos State Government has unfolded strategies aimed at sanitising the red meat value chain in the state,
Mr Gbolahan Lawal, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, made the disclosure on Sunday when he met with executives of the butchers association in the state.
Lawal said the meeting was to solicit their cooperation and support for the success of the reforms in the red meat value chain.
He listed some of the strategies to include the linking of approved slaughter houses and abattoirs to the markets being supplied through the EKO refrigerated meat vans.
He added that abattoirs supplying various markets would be identified and classified in order to link the butchers with the markets using a color tag/code.
He said that butchers in the state would henceforth be issued veterinary meat hygiene certificate for health and wholesomeness after inspection of carcass by veterinary officers.
“A 21st century Lagos wants to raise the standard of slaughtering, processing and marketing of red meat in the state.
“The purpose is to ensure the safety and health of the populace by ensuring that only certified animals are slaughtered and wholesome beef is available in our markets.
“This will also boost international recognition of beef from the state thus opening up an export portal which will be a source of forex, this is what Lagos is pushing for, a conducive and hygienic environment in the red meat value chain,” the commissioner said.
“The proposed flow of activity is to ensure that only certified carcasses leave the approved abattoir.
“The products are tagged and traceable to butchers/vendors and markets by use of coded EKO meat vans.
“This strategy will prevent street hawking of beef and sale of beef from illegal abattoirs as coded markets will be made public and the populace would be advised to only purchase from same,” he said.
Lawal said that sanitising the red meat sector would help promote the value chain by providing wholesome and hygienically processed beef for the populace.
He said it was also to boost beef processing to international standards in order to facilitate export opportunities and foreign investment into the value chain.
The commissioner said the issuance of veterinary meat hygiene certificate for health and wholesomeness was compulsory and backed by Schedules 4 and 5 Cap M3 Meat Inspection Laws of Lagos State.
He added that no butcher or meat vendor would be able to sell without the certificate in the state.
“We are setting up monitoring team comprising officials of the Ministries of Health, Environment and Water Resources, Special Duties and Inter Governmental Relations, Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas.
“Monitoring, enforcement and compliance unit of Ministry of Agriculture such as Veterinary Microbiologists and Pathologists has since been constituted in order to ensure the effective implementation of the reforms,” he said.
The commissioner said the activities of abattoirs would be standardised in the state such that all the approved abattoirs would not only be functional, hygienic and conducive for slaughtering activities but strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures.
“There must be continuous availability of clean water supply and there must be prompt disposal of waste from the abattoirs.
“Any person in possession of beef for sale without our certificate will have such products confiscated and the person prosecuted,” Lawal said.
He said the beef markets would be upgraded to comply with international standards and introduction of modern and standard butchering tables with removable tops.
“Our long term strategies will involve livestock identification and traceability system, such that an animal can be traced from the cattle market to shops.
“The use of meat boxes instead of bags to convey beef cuts and the setup, recall and return strategies if there is a problem with a particular batch of meat.
“Others are the creation of a butcher’s database/log so that details of butchers in the state are captured and numbered accordingly.
“Introduction of batching and coding system using the identity of each butcher that will allow easy tracking and tracing of abattoir activities and establishment of functional prototype meat shops across all the divisions in the state,” he added. (NAN)