By the end of 2018, Samoan beef for the local commercial markets will not be allowed on the shelves unless it has the Ministry of Agriculture seal.
The same will also be enforced on all meat exports.
Passed into law last year, the local livestock stakeholders were afforded a three year grace period to readjust to the regulations of the Slaughter and Meat Supply Act 2015.
To that effect, MOA is promoting and raising public awareness before the grace period ends.
Stakeholders from both government and business community came together this week at the Taumesina Island Resort in one of the promotional activities hosted by MAF to highlight the developments.
Said MAF’s Associate Minister Faasootauloa Pati Taulapapa;
“The project is in line with the government framework to reduce reliance on imported meat products.
“The Slaughter and Meat Supply Act 2015 is giving the legal muscle to MAF to implement and enforce regulations as well as to put in place the needed infrastructures and trained personnel as prescribed by the Act.”
Faasootauloa noted that two new mobile abattoirs have been procured and used by private livestock farmers to slaughter the animals, before a central abattoir is completed before the end of the year.
“Once the central abattoir is completed, it will be mandatory for cattle to be properly and hygienically slaughtered from the abattoirs,” he added.
“And locally processed meat without the MAF seal will not be allowed for sale.
“But any other purposes such as for personal use by families and for traditional faalavelaves are exempted from this regulation for the time being until further notice.”
The Associate Minister elaborated that the new procedures will require cattle to be put down in the presence of a meat inspector or veterinarian to ensure that hygiene regulations are observed.
He said that initiative is vital; not only for monitoring and surveillance purposes by the Ministry but it will also guarantee hygienic meat-slaughter for public consumption.
While some bigger farms have their own abattoir facilities, most do not. And the law, says Faasootauloa, allows slaughter houses in various parts of the country.
“The current practice for many of these small farms is that they take their slaughtered cattle or pigs to the butcheries and they are paid on the spot,” said MAF’s Chief Executive Fonoiava Siaalii Sesega.
“There is no control of the way meat is processed, stored and transported but the Act prescribes tougher health regulations to address these food safety issues.”
Opening new exports markets is also under the microscope.
“We have already engaged our trading partners in New Zealand and Australia.
“But the immediate target is neighboring American Samoa,” said the Agriculture Minister.
“Using American Samoa as a doorway to the lucrative US Market is the ultimate objective.
“The goal is for Samoa’s meat products to be certified to meet USDA standards.”
The project is funded by the World Bank.