DA probes sale of Indian buffalo meat in wet markets

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is currently looking into reports that Indian buffalo meat, which is unfit for human consumption if it is unprocessed, is being sold in local wet markets.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol made the statement after the DA received reports that some vendors in Marikina are selling Indian buffalo meat, more commonly known as carabeef.

Manila allows traders to import carabeef but only for meat processing purposes.

“We are currently investigating reports that some Indian buffalo meat are being sold in wet markets. That is illegal,” Piñol told reporters in a recent interview.

He said he instructed his staff to conduct an investigation after the DA was informed three weeks ago that Indian buffalo meat is being sold in Marikina’s wet markets.

Piñol urged the public not to purchase imported carabeef as it is unfit for human consumption.

“The imported carabeef cannot be eaten and should be processed first. We assure the public that we are investigating this already,” he said.

The sale of “fresh frozen Indian buffalo meat [IBM]” in the domestic market is prohibited under DA Administrative
Circular 12 Series of 2015 (AC 12-2005), or the Update Rules and Regulations Governing the Allocation, Importation, and Utilization of Fresh Frozen Buffalo Meat from India.

“The presence of IBM in domestic markets manifest unauthorized distribution and trade in violation of existing DA rules and regulations,” it read.

“The IBM shall be solely used for meat processing, using the standards provided for in the Chapter 8.7, Article 8.7.34 of OIE-TAHC [2014] for the inaction of viruses present in the meat,” it added.

AC 12-2005 stipulated that the government will confiscate and dispose IBM found in the possession of unauthorized persons. The government has also prescribed the penalties for importers and meat processors who would violate
the circular.

Piñol said agriculture officials are currently reviewing the DA’s rules on Indian buffalo meat importation in light of the recent developments.

The country’s buffalo meat imports in the January-to-February period rose by 84.54 percent to 6,974.402 metric tons (MT) from 3,779.36 MT recorded in the same period last year, data from the Bureau of Animal Industry showed.

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