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NMIS orders release of imported meat products

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The National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) has ordered the release of meat shipments that had been held in abeyance due to the lack of proper labels.

The NMIS issued Memorandum Circular (MC) 08-2021-028 dated August 26 that ordered the release of all imported meat put on hold due to noncompliance with the government’s minimum labeling requirements.

The MC was signed by NMIS Executive Director Jocelyn A. Salvador.

Based on the MC, the 23 shipments that were held in abeyance were “deemed not to constitute misrepresentation, misbranding, false claims and other deliberate acts.”

The NMIS added that this was the basis for their release “for utilization to further measures on modification.”

Industry sources told the BusinessMirror that importers have been given the go-signal to modify the labels of the non-compliant shipments, which were subsequently allowed to be released for market use.

The meat shipments that were ordered release under MC 08-2021-028 included imported beef (boneless beef navels, striploin, ribeye, chuckeye roll, shortlate), pork, (trimmings, middle bone-in, jowls, loins bone in skinless, hams, ear drum) as well as frozen ground mature chicken breast meat.

The BusinessMirror reported last month that the stringent implementation of the minimum meat labeling requirements on imported meat have resulted in a supply bottleneck as the government put on hold at least 2.5 million kilograms of imported meat products.
(Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2021/08/11/meat-labeling-rules-seen-affecting-food-supply/)

The confiscation of meat shipments started after the NMIS issued a memorandum circular last July 27, which reiterated the strict enforcement of labeling requirements for meat products.

The Bureau of Animal Industry and the NMIS issued a joint memorandum circular (JMC) on meat labeling requirements last August 10 after industry players aired their concerns over the NMIS memorandum circular.

However, the JMC did not sit well with industry stakeholders. Some of them pointed out that the JMC contains “legal impediments” and that it had nothing to do with food safety.

Frozen inventory

Ahead of the issuance of the MC, the NMIS released data which indicated that the country’s frozen pork inventory shrank after it declined for two consecutive weeks. Inventory as of August 23 was at 67,551.59 metric tons (MT).

NMIS data showed that frozen pork inventory in accredited cold storages nationwide as of August 23 fell by 3,608.22 MT from 71,159.81 MT recorded on August 16.

The agency attached to the Departement of Agriculture reported that 96.95 percent, or 65,492.05 MT of the August 23 total frozen pork inventory was imported.

The volume of imported frozen pork during the reference period was almost 5 percent lower than the 68,859.82 MT recorded on August 16, based on NMIS data.

The volume of imported frozen pork in cold storages nationwide reached a new record on August 9. Inventory reached 75,488.97 MT as a result of the meat shipments held by the government due to non-compliance to minimum labeling requirements.

Image courtesy of BusinessMirror file photo

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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