TANZANIA Meat Board (TMB), has given butchery operators until September 30, this year as a deadline for using wooden chopping logs for cutting meat.
Instead, TMB wants butchers to use meat band saw-cutting machine in a bid to improve hygiene and meat handling in butcheries. TMB Registration Officer, Mr Geoffrey Sosthenes said yesterday at the ongoing Saba Saba exhibitions, at Mwalimu Nyerere Grounds along Kilwa Road that the use of wood log for cutting meat causes health hazards and a loss of meat per every kilogramme.
He said the porous surface on wood log can absorb or retain bacteria that can lead to meat contamination.
Mr Sosthenes added that apart from causing meat contamination, studies conducted have also showed that the use of wooden chopping blocks causes loss of one kilogram of meat in every 100 kilograms.
He said TMB has taken various measures to ensure that meat-processing areas were being improved in order to meet the required standards.
“We have already written letters to regional administration and local governments authorities countrywide to ensure that they put more emphasis on improving the hygiene in meat processing areas including slaughter houses, butcheries among others”, he said.
He said the authorities were issued with the letters since February this year, noting that its implementation was on progress. Also, according to TMB assessment, most butcheries in the country, were operating below standards with some butchery operators continue using wood log.
Mr Sosthenes, noted that a standard butchery must have equipment such as band saw, digital weighing scale, which has been inspected, chopping blocks which can be cleaned easily, must have two people one for handling meat while another one for receiving cash from the customers among others.
He said that there has been a low response by butchery operators to register their business, but efforts were underway to ensure that all butcheries in the country were registered.
According to him, currently 1, 040 butcheries have been registered as per the law, adding: “These butcheries are the ones which have met all the required standards.”
Early last week TMB said that the government was taking various measures to increase local meat production and consumption and cut down imports.
According to the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development Tanzania produces an average of 581,804.2 of meat per year whereby 96 per cent is consumed locally, whereby 95 per cent sold in ordinary markets and 4 per cent in special markets like mines, tourist hotels, supermarkets and 0.7 per cent is exported.