Press Release
March 13, 2016

Villar calls for immediate disposal of 3.9 million kilos frozen meat

Sen. Cynthia Villar urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to immediately destroy 3.9 million kilos of meat abandoned at the Manila port.

A report said in December 2014, 5 million kilos of meat, containing pork jowls, bellies, diaphragm and belly fat, in 203 refrigerated vans were stationed at the Manila International Container Port. The containers were held due to the absence of required permit from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).

In 2015, the number of vans decreased to 158 with 3.9 million kilos of frozen meat.

"The presence of almost 4 million kilos of meat at the port after a year is already creating anxiety among the public. There is no assurance that unscrupulous and enterprising parties will be prevented from selling them," Villar said.

"If we are serious in our drive to improve food safety levels in the country, we should dispose this immediately and not wait anymore for the consignees to appear. Clearly, they have abandoned the meat to rot," she added.

Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, noted that the refrigerated vans continue to use electricity. It is also unclear who will pay for the disposal of the expired meat which entails extraordinary expense. The consignees have abandoned the containers to avoid payment of demurrage and storage fees.

According to experts, as long as frozen meat shows no signs of thawing, it will be very difficult for consumers to tell fresh meat from bad. When meat is moved under poor conditions or repeatedly thawed, it could cause serious threat to health when consumed.

Although cooking spoiled meat at high temperature kills some bacteria, toxins were left behind that cause food-borne illnesses such as nausea, diarrhea, fever, intestinal problems, or even death.

Industry sources said some vans were allowed to leave port premises because the consignees were able to present a certificate assuring these are fit for human consumption. The consignees are Lean Pasture Trading, Lucky Sisters Meat Trading, and Jcore Enterprises.

Villar also expressed dismay that meat smuggling continue to thrive with P8.8 billion of smuggled pork alone entering the country in 2014.

The meat came from various countries, namely, US, Canada, Belgium and other European countries.

Smugglers misdeclared imported frozen meat as fats, skin, offal, and deboned in order to pay only 5 percent in duties and taxes, instead of 30 to 40 percent. The misdeclaration results in about P1 million in revenue losses per container.

News Latest News Feed