Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Poultry and other Meat products: A check is must before being bought.

          Tripura, a small state under north eastern India constitutes huge quantum requirement in terms of daily consumption of non-vegetarian products like poultry product, mutton and pork etc.
        The demand of these products is perennial due to maximum population of the state preferring for non-vegetarian products. But, being popular does not mean every thing is in place and note worthy. This is very important as far as quality of the products sold / available in the market / locality is concerned.
         Let us take into the account the present spate of condition as to how these products are sold in the market.

       • Poultry Bird: 

        Sold in whole bird / dressed and as per requirement of the customer. The intended bird is kept in a cage which is in fact most un-hygienic and intended bird is also smeared with faecal matters in the cage.
         There is no mechanism to know whether the intended bird is healthy and disease free by the customer / consumer in the marketplace.
        In most of the cases, these dealers do not have proper place to keep their product in safe place to be free of disease causing micro organisms. These lacking results in contaminations of poultry and other meat products with susceptible microbes present in the faecal matter and un-hygienic source at market place.

        • Pork: 

         Pork is one of the most demanding meat in the state competing neck to neck with the mutton in terms of demands, popularity and sale price it fetches. But, what is the condition and where it is being sold is matter of fact to be examined.
       The fact is there is no regulated place for selling of this product (in maximum cases), Pork stall is in abandoned / outskirt area where, it doesn’t meet its due looking to the demand and popularity it supposed to receive.
          Although, it is competing with one of the most popular non-vegetarian product “Mutton” but looking to the product through prism would give otherwise and definitive picture of its possible contamination with different micro-organism which could pose heath risk to the consumer.
          Here also consumers are in dark due to want of proper facility like quality in terms of presence of different microbial causal agent that could have been verified before being sold in the market.

         • Mutton: 

          Till date, there is no parallel of mutton, it is considered to be safest one in terms of quality and purity of the product. This is due to the fact that people while looking into the every aspect that is; very rearing stage to food habit of the animal and keeping condition of animal in herd considers mutton as qualitative product.
      Another aspect is; goat being clean animal by nature has also been taken into the consideration for judging the quality of the meat. It is perhaps due to such reason; mutton fetches highest market price in the state market.
         But fact also that, the way animals are bled in the market, condition of shed does not suit to be maintaining good quality due to overtly chances of contamination and getting the products being spoiled due to unsafe condition.

Rearing condition of Poultry Bird / Pig and local Hen/Fowl in the state

        Now, if we take a look of keeping of these animals and birds that is since rearing stages of these birds / pig etc possibly, we may find many steps which are rather susceptible steps that begins from rearing stage of these birds & animals. 
        Poultry birds deserves and considered to be the most cared birds amongst all due to the fact that they are reared / kept in special enclosures having many facilities like rice barn floor, regular concentrate feed, water, medicines and light etc.
     It apparently looks to be qualitative care from the part of the farm owner but how many farm owner keep proper density of bird in a given space is most import and how often liter from the poultry farm is cleaned.
          Because, irrespective of all deserving qualitative approach by many, it is where many deadly disease breaks out which further spread to other area.
       Therefore, hygienic and sanitation maintenance are the condition that supposed to meet the qualitative earmark for producing safe and healthy poultry bird which is safe for consumption.
          Similarly, local fowl / hen; it is free, it moves in every accessible area surrounding the place where it is reared. In the process of non-restrictive movement, there are always possibilities for getting contamination with disease causing micro organisms.
      This is the reason, many a times local fowl is subjected to different disease most common being the Raniket disease which is quite prevalent in the state. Therefore, local birds; many people try to outsmart to prefer for local bird instead of poultry considering taste, texture and quality which are actually not wholly true but mixed with myth.
          Another most demanding and popular source of non-vegetarian product; the pig in the countryside is kept in most pathetic condition. Pigs if kept in enclosures are in good unhygienic condition and those in the open means subjected to contamination with various parasites, germs etc due to its omnivorous feeding habit and self keeping condition / self cleanliness of the animal.
         It is only in the Government farm, pig gets good place to live and good feed to eat which is very rare in case of country side rearing by local people.
       Pig feed; although pig is considered for conversion roughage into nutrient / nutritious product but the fact is; they are given some of worst feed to grow for marketing.
Possible health risk / danger of un-hygienic meat and non-certified meat
        “Where demand matters, quality scares” but, there are genuinely many people who apprehend the danger in consuming suspicious and contaminated poultry, mutton, pork etc that are being sold in the market.
         People apprehend for Taenia solium in case of pork but, no way to ensure the product is free from such tape worm or not. Of course, there is also Swine flu which is not reported till date in the state but there is still apprehension for sale of meat from disease infected pig.
         Similarly, the spate of condition of poultry processing (normal) is quite un-compromising; everything is mixed up and there lies every possibility for health hazards due to consumption of contaminate products.
         People of the state are safe till date; may be fortune enough due to the fact that there is no any un-towards reports due to consumption of such product that exist every where in the market.
         Another most noticeable and contrasting picture is none other than egg of local duck; how filthy it is smeared with faecal matters. It sometime does not look to be real egg, it resemble something like earthen ball.
         Till now, people overlooked because their objective is only egg not quality. It surely would transmit health deteriorating micro organism to the human body causing health threat to the consumer.

Steps to check the situation:

        People, particularly those who are associated with live stock farm should be very much careful in dealing with possible contagious disease and knowledge of managing the situation.
         The ongoing bird flu sought in the state should be the eye opener to all with special perspective to the affect, it causes to the concerned farm owner and possible health danger to the consumer and people in the affected area or zone.
      Of course, clubbing the matter with the ongoing aspect may be inappropriate but some ways or other, sanitation, good hygienic condition matters in preventing the disease to the farm animals.
         Media reports that culling of birds which has been continuing since last 3(three) days from 27/01/2012 to 29/01/2012 may require some more days to take a stock in the situation.
         Media report indicated that “Since last 3(three) days, 5825 nos. duck, hen (poultry & local) had been culled. Compensation to the tune of rupees 1, 07,501.00 had been paid to the affected people. 
        Since beginning to of culling of birds in 4(four) villages near Lembucherra, poultry bird, duck & pigeon had been killed in following dates;
27/01/2012 - 1,979 nos. Duck, Hen and Pigeon.
28/01/2012 - 3,332 nos. Duck & Hens.
29.01.2012 - 515 nos. Duck & Hens.
       And, feed of poultry & duck of 12,500 Kg had been buried as preventive measures.
Now, with this bird flu onslaught, there would be void like situation in the affected zones/areas because to restart, it would take some more time in compliance with the mopping procedures in the areas. 
        Therefore, two aspects that is; animal health and its subsequent affect on the consumers should be areas of concerned and should be looked into.
While at this prevailing condition, there would not be any rapid development in term of qualitative improvement.
        But, people’s awareness should be awakened in greater interest and this should be carried by anybody not necessarily only the state Government; any voluntary / non-Governmental organization for educating people of the state from dive consequence, it could one day bring to the people of the state.
        Another aspect, of course, this would take some time is meat processing plant. To come up a full fledged meat processing plant, it may require to have all business pros and cons which the state may not afford in the prevailing condition but state may come up with some regulatory mechanism wherein, at least product intended to be marketed goes through proper check / certification for ensuing safety to the consumer.
        Safety and good hygienic condition should be maintained in different poultry and duckery farm, all the farm should kept away from any possible contamination of disease causing organisms.
    Agritangkol dated 30.01.2012 at 10.00 A.M

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