Precious Manomano-Herald Reporter
The Veterinary Department in collaboration with Police and Ministry of Health and Child care have intensified operation “Nyama Yabvepi” to curb the selling of uninspected meat and ensure that no sick animals are accepted for slaughter, and have shut 86 of 256 inspected butcheries after just over a week.
The programme also help to curb stock theft, which is largely driven by the markets supplied by restaurants and butcheries who connive with the thieves or skip the required checks.
Nyama Yabvepi was launched on Wednesday last week, just before National Unity Day, and runs to the end of January.
So far, 256 butcheries have been inspected and of these 86 were closed for failing to meet the requirements.
Over 2,3 tonnes of meat worth US$6 900 have been confiscated and destroyed, while 41 cattle and 17 goats worth US$21 180 have been recovered across the country.
Twenty two people have been arrested over cattle-related crime and nine more over other livestock.
Acting Deputy Director of Veterinary Field Services Dr Reverend Spargo said it is a criminal offence for any meat outlet to sell or display for sale meat that has not been processed in a registered slaughterhouse, and inspected and certified as fit for human consumption.
“Reports of unscrupulous abattoir operators, butcheries, supermarkets and meat vendors selling uninspected meat have been noted with great concern.
“This vice is more prevalent during the festive season hence the timing of the multi-disciplinary operation. The operation is also aimed at curbing stock theft which are driven by these unregistered meat outlets,” he said.
Department of Veterinary Services has the mandate to ensure safe and wholesome food of animal origin through the inspection of livestock at farms or dip tanks of origin with permits only issued for the movement of healthy animals.
Head of Police anti-stock theft unit Ass Comm Ezekiel Munengerwa urged people to cooperate in reducing stock theft.
“There has been a decline in cases of stock theft countrywide. However the figures are still worrisome as the farming community continues to lose their livestock to criminals.
“We applaud the general public for the assistance they are rendering the police in an effort to reduce the incidence of stock theft,” he said.
Other than inspection of live animals, the Vet Department also does inspection of meat and milk and monitoring antibiotic, hormone and chemical residues at all stages of production and up to final consumption.
This is the farm to fork model to ensure safe food to the general public.
The department is also charged with the responsibility of registration and inspections of abattoirs as well as ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections at registered abattoirs. At slaughter facilities not covered by the Veterinary public health officers, meat inspection is carried out by meat inspectors from Ministry of Health and Child Care and local authorities.
Meat outlets should only display or sell meat that is inspected and found to be unconditionally fit for human consumption. Such meat should be stamped and roller marked. It is required by law for abattoirs and butcheries to display their valid certificates of registration so that the ordinary public can easily identify a registered meat outlet.