No T.B. In Your Meat

All Infected cattle, pieces set to be destroyed. Only safe pieces of meat sent to butcher
14 Mar 2021 11:40
No T.B. In Your Meat

Cattle found with tuberculosis are culled, infected regions removed and then the rest of the carcass is sold to butchers for human consumption.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Ritesh Dass the meat after the infected parts are removed are not detrimental to humans.

He said this was a worldwide practice.

“The meat inspectors do a thorough inspection and the good part which is of good quality and does not pose any health risks are sold to the butcher and the farmer is given compensation for this,” he said.

“If we feel that the entire cow needs to be destroyed, we condemn and destroy the entire carcass.”

Last week 69 cattle were declared infected with TB at a Tailevu dairy farm. The 69 are due to be culled in two weeks time. The Fiji Meat Industries Board (FMIB) does the TB culling. Much of the compensation paid back to the farmers was through the sale of the meat of infected cattle.

Mr Dass said the incidents of bovine TB had come down from five per cent to two per cent and they were looking at eradicating the disease in the years to come.

FMIB chief executive officer Vimal Chand said the whole process was done under the guidance of Government veterinarians.

Mr Chand said they would not be able to reveal the names of the butchers who had bought the carcass of infected animals as it was a confidential matter.

Leylands Limited director Christopher Yee said they did not purchase any meat that came from a diseased animal.

“We believe in the safety of our consumers over profitability. For us there is no real guarantee that the remainder of the carcass is disease free. We just don’t take the risk,” he said. Mr Yee said that a few years back a similar move was initiated with brucellosis infected cattle.

Permanent secretary for Health Dr James Fong said abdominal TB was a well known disease.

“It is rare, but I have come across it. Tuberculosis of the abdomen may occur via reactivation of latent TB infection or by ingestion of tuberculous mycobacteria as with ingestion of unpasteurised milk or undercooked meat,” he said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce 


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