THAILAND – Contaminated chicken has been traced to chicken sales outlets.
Health authorities are stepping up efforts to prevent contaminated chicken meat from reaching food stores after abattoirs in Nakhon Ratchasima bought suspect poultry and sold it for human consumption, reports Bangkok Post.
Public Health Minister, Jurin Laksanavisit said yesterday that the Food and Drug Administration and health officials were collecting chicken meat at certain places for testing.
Buying dead chickens for butchering and selling to the public is banned by law. The dead animals must be disposed of or handled by the Livestock Development Department (LDD).
“Health authorities are conducting inspections on chicken meat at food stores. They are targeting venues where unfit meat may have ended up,” he said.
Livestock officials on Sunday raided four illegal poultry slaughterhouses in Pak Chong district and seized nine tonnes of dead chicken.
The slaughterhouse operators allegedly said they bought the dead chickens from many farms in the province and then sold the meat to food processors.
It was reported that the chicken meat was supplied to food-processing factories such as those making Chinese-style chicken sausages or to barbecue-style restaurants.
Mr Jurin said the abattoirs which allegedly cut up the dead poultry could face charges under at least three items of legislation.
They would be prosecuted under the Food Act if the chicken meat is found to have been contaminated, while the Public Health Act and the Communicable Diseases Control Act could be enforced against them if they were found to have committed food hygiene violations and exposed the public to diseases.
Mr Jurin urged consumers to learn how to select fresh meat.
LDD chief, Preecha Somboonprasert, said his staff had sprayed all the dead chickens found at the slaughterhouse with disinfectant and then buried them.
He said the department would file charges against the slaughterhouse operator for transporting animals without permission. The LDD banned transportation of dead poultry after the bird flu outbreak flared up in late 2003.
In April, the LDD charged 11 people with illegally operating a poultry slaughterhouse in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district where up to 27 tonnes of dead fowl were seized.
The culprits were given one-year suspended jail terms and fined 5,000 baht each.
Rangsan Rawangsamrong, chief of Nakhon Ratchasima provincial livestock office, estimated there were about 100 illegal poultry and meat slaughterhouses in the northeastern province. Bangkok Post reports him saying that small unregistered chicken farms sold dead poultry to the abattoirs because large-scale farms had stricter hygiene rules.
Information ThePoultrySite News Desk