Consumer Association delivers instructions on food safety Berro: Ongoing check-up campaigns not enough

Fri 28 Nov 2014 at 03:36 Know Lebanon

Written by Abdo Helou
Translated by AssaadMaalouf

The Consumer Association Head, Dr. Zuhair Berro, considered the ongoing food check-up campaign, backed by the public health ministry, as insufficient. He thereby wondered, "Where is the food safety law? 95% of laborers in the meat sector, especially butcheries, and in restaurants and slaughterhouses and others, are totally unaware about the components of meat and the harm it does when it rots.

He clarified that stainless metal should be used in all chopping machines, and that madams must use different kinds of cutting boards for meat, chicken, or even cucumber, indicating that any deficiency in cleaning the boards makes humans exposed to bacteria.

Berro added, "According to a study jointly conducted by the association and FAO in 2000, Lebanon needs only four slaughterhouses, and we informed officials of this study, but nobody replied. We thus warned officials to take care of the work of slaughterhouses, but again our warning has been fruitless. Look what's happening today!"

Berro explained that even the procedure of transporting meat was not safe. "Does the one who prepares or chops the meat recognize the appropriate method to prevent the infectious transfer of bacteria? Does the butcher know that the blood springing from the slaughtered sheep harms every human being by its smell and bacteria? The problem then is big enough and requires a radical solution starting from the top part of the pyramid."

The association thereupon favored the consumer by distributing instructions on food safety:

- Always check the expiry date of every commodity, do not buy if date is unavailable or if you doubt the date's tape
- Companies bearing ISO or HACCP are trusted
- Don't buy a product when you doubt its smell, color or package
- Keep the receipt of the product with you, as you will be in need for it if you discover later on the product's invalidity
- Contact immediately the consumer association at 01 750 650 if you find any problem in the product or if you or any of your family member get poisoned, then contact the seller or the restaurant owner in this regard, call afterwards the directorate of consumer protection at 1739 to register your complaint, which must be followed up by you on a daily basis in order to reach a result
- Don't ever stay silent if you witness anything wrong, as you will be in a way or another encouraging the deception of others and poisoning him/her. You should tell all your relatives or friends about what you assess as wrong and publish it on Facebook, which is one of the most important means to boycott corrupting markets

Meat and Fishes
- The Consumer Protection is pressing in its demand for modern slaughterhouses, and for finding appropriate means to transfer meat in a cool, safe atmosphere
- Choose a clean butchery
- Check the cutting board of meat that must be plastic, white, and not wooden
- Check the color of meat (that should be glowing red)
- Ask for cutting the meat in front of you, don't buy ready chopped or ground meat

- For killing the microbes in chicken you need to boil the chicken for at least 30 minutes, even if you want to grill or fry it
- Don't mix chicken with meat in your refrigerator

Yoghurt and Cheese
- Don't buy any piece of cheese without checking the expiry date, even if the seller tells you that the date's tape has been already removed from the start; otherwise, you will be encouraging deceitful sellers
- Buy the cheese softly chopped in front of your eye

Canned Food
- Do not buy any can that's not in its normal shape, it should not be swollen or puffed up for example
- Do not eat from it if a bad smell or strange sound comes out from it when you open it

Finally, know that when a consumer stubbornly demands his rights and constantly complains against corrupted food products, will sure oblige the seller to abide by legal measures and standards.

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