Watchdog calls to address “contaminated” meat issue

September 6, 2012

A Bahraini consumer watchdog has called for the establishment of a committee of representatives from all parties involved in importing and selling state-subsidised meat.

The call on Monday follows controversy over the import of meat deemed unfit for consumption and the war of words between the importing company and municipal and health councillors. The market has been heavily impacted by the shortage of meat and people bewildered by the claims and counterclaims over potential health hazards.

The Bahraini Consumers’ Protection Society (BCPS) said that it wanted to be involved in the talks to discuss the various stages of importing live or frozen food and to give recommendations to ensure there would be no repeat of the controversy.

In a statement, the society said the state was heavily subsidising the import of meat and that there was a need to ensure a problem-free process.

The issue of contaminated or rotten food imported by Bahrain should be contained and addressed properly, it said.

“We have been receiving several complaints about this vital product that last year cost the state BD 50 million [Dh488.5 million],” the society said.

The watchdog said that only one company was licensed to import subsidised meat, live or frozen, and that the situation needed to be addressed.

“The existence of a sole company that monopolises the import of state-subsidised meat is a violation of the free economy principle of offer and demand. This means that we should have more than one importer so that we avoid a repeat of the controversy over the subsidised meat,” the society said. “We believe that forming a committee would help put an end to rumours and claims that make consumers doubt the validity of the imported meat and the extent of the compliance with slaughtering as prescribed by Islamic rules.”

Two ships carrying rotten meat were intercepted in two separate incidents in summer by local officials during random checks.

Commerce officials have been pushing for contingency plans, including the diversification of livestock imports, to help meet meat shortages in the local market.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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