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Meat for sale in city soon to have quality check mark

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 GUWAHATI, July 31 - Often finding itself in the thick of controversies for not having any quality checkup mechanism for the sale of raw meat, despite available state-of-the-art facilities, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) will soon have its unique stamp in place for the slaughtered animals, indicating their sale by date.

This would mean that like any other packaged items, meat lovers in Guwahati will soon have a quality check mark in the form of an indelible mark or stamp in the body of the slaughtered animal indicating its date and time of slaughter and hence its sale by date.

“Be it mutton or pork, all the slaughtered animals will have a mark on it. The meat seller cannot do away with the mark until the last piece of the meat is sold. We will start with the sellers based at Beltola, Basistha, Dispur and Six Mile from August this year,” said a GMC official, when asked about the health hazard these unregulated meat houses are posing, despite the fact that mechanised slaughter facilities are in place.

While unabated slaughtering at unsafe and unhygienic places continue to pose serious health hazards to people in Guwahati, the authorities concerned over the years has failed to encourage meat sellers to avail the facilities of the only state-of-the-art slaughter house located in the Panjabari area.

Made at the cost of Rs 4.5 crore around five years back, the mechanised slaughter house running under the Assam Livestock and Poultry Corporation Limited meant for goats, sheep, pigs and poultry, is virtually left with no work.

A GMC official, however, stated that they would soon take steps to make slaughtering of animals in the mechanised slaughter house a must for all meat sellers. “This may, however, result in hike in meat prices as transportation of meat from the slaughter house to the respective destination will incur extra cost,” sources indicated.

Guwahatians consume over 14,200 kilograms of mutton every day, while the sale of pork is nearly 3,000 kilograms a day. Significantly, over 90 per cent of the animals are slaughtered in unhygienic locations, where the by-products of slaughtered animals are also haphazardly disposed, adding to the health issues.

“We are planning to devise a mechanism wherein the licensed meat sellers will be subjected to regular monitoring,” the official said.

“As per official records, there are at present 152 mutton sellers in Guwahati, although the number of those running their business without any licence would be at least 100, if not more. Further, records say that only 28 outlets are selling pork in Guwahati, which is also an unconvincing number,” sources pointed out, adding, “along with mutton and pork, sale of chicken too is done in violation of all safety and hygiene norms.”

As per the Rule 5 of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (Regulation Slaughterhouse) Bylaws, 2012, “No person be permitted to slaughter any animal and process any meat intended for human consumption at any place other than a recognised slaughter house notified/licensed by the Corporation.”

A Public Interest Litigation in this regard is still pending with the Gauhati High Court.

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