The Veterinary Directorate has destroyed more than 23 tonnes of seized beef from Brazil – the Veterinary Directorate confirmed to the Politika daily.
On 11th August, the Jagodina police and the Customs Administration seized 23 tons of smuggled meat, mostly from Brazil. which was supposed to be delivered to a company in Cuprija.
“Certain meat packs carried a label showing that the meat was from Brazil. Some of it was still within the expiration date, while some expired over six months ago,” said the Veterinary Directorate.
The Serbian Customs Administration says that imported meat can enter the country only at certain border crossings, where border veterinary inspection is present.
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“Most meat in Serbia is imported from EU Member States and smaller quantities from CEFTA countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia. In 2017, a total of 130 consignments or 681.8 tonnes of chilled or frozen beef were imported into Serbia, as well as 27.1 tonnes of pork, 143 tonnes of mutton and 3.5 tonnes of poultry,” said the Veterinary Directorate.
In the aforementioned case, the police arrested a 21-year-old person involved in the supply of Brazilian meat, and charged him with smuggling.
Professor Nedjeljko Karabasil, from the Department of Hygiene and Food Control of the Veterinary Faculty, said that the meat of suspicious origin has many hazards – both biological and chemical – from various bacteria and parasites to hormones and drugs.
“We have no information on how the animal was bred, how it was slaughtered and how the meat was chilled, and it is important to prevent such things from happening to avoid certain hazards,” Karabasil said.
President of the National Consumer Organization of Serbia, Goran Papovic, said that it would be good if the names of the companies involved in meat smuggling were publicly revealed.
“Often, we don’t know who these companies are, while they do often end up in court and are subjected to lengthy court proceedings. If there is no publicly available information about what exactly has been seized and who from, do not serve the public and the citizens only become even more suspicious the state and the inspections not doing their job and the safety of the products we buy, “Papovic says.
“I’m afraid that we are going to have the same scenario as from a few years ago when we imported poultry from Argentina via Kosovo. We were told that we would get the information about this case in a few days. When we called again, we were told that the case went to court. And we never got information on who actually was the importer,” Papovic said, pointing out that consumers are the only ones who can punish an unscrupulous trader.
He adds that it is safe to say that there are fewer field inspectors and “that they should have higher salaries in order to easier resist corruption.”