Chilled is fresh and safe
Publish Date: 2012-09-20 20:18:00
Many homemakers believe that feeding their families fresh, delicious food is one of the best things they can do. Cooking from scratch is the pride of many wives and mothers and that starts with a trip to the wet market to buy, among other things, newly-slaughtered meat. But are you sure the meat is indeed fresh?
The National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) recently launched a campaign called "Chilled is Fresh... Chilled is Safe" to encourage consumers to be more vigilant when buying meat from wet markets. The agency is tasked with protecting public health through effective meat inspection service.
Dr. Eduardo Oblena, NMIS director for the National Capital Region, said meat from newly slaughtered animals is only good for six to eight hours. If it cannot be sold within this period, the meat should be placed in a freezer to prevent the growth of bacteria
“All chilled and frozen meat and meat products should be kept at a certain temperature to maintain the quality and safety of the meat,” Oblena, a veterinarian, said that they are now requiring vendors selling meat to provide equipment such as freezers and refrigerators to maintain the quality of their products.
San Miguel Foods Inc. (SMFI) recently launched the Monterey Know Your Meat campaign to complement NMIS’ advocacy. SMFI is a subsidiary of San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc., the food division of San Miguel Corporation.
The highlight of the campaign is the nationwide Know Your Meat Caravan which helps educate people on how to handle and cook meat properly.
“Meat is highly perishable. Without refrigeration, bacteria will grow rapidly in the warm meat causing spoilage and worse, food poisoning.” says SMFI President Ms. Tatish Palabyab.
Oblena explains that warm meat is obtained from newly slaughtered animals. This meat which is usually sold in the wet market is not refrigerated up to the point of sale, hence, a bigger chance for bacterial growth.
Chilled meat, on the other hand, is meat produced from newly slaughtered animals that is stored under refrigeration without being frozen. According to the NMIS, in the slaughterhouse, the animal carcasses are immediately chilled down to the recommended temperature of 0°C to 10°C by a rapid chilling process. The chilling temperature is maintained throughout the subsequent processing, handling, transport, storage, distribution and retail.
“Chilled meat keeps its freshness for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator,” says Palabyab.
Frozen meat is preserved by rapid freezing at -18°C or lower. Freezing keeps the meat fresh longer than 5 days under the prescribed temperature. Once thawed, meat should be cooked at once and never frozen again.
Monterey has won NMIS Seal of Excellence awards, ISO certifications and recognition for its compliance to Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Systems and Good Manufacturing Practices and Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures.
“These awards are why we believe we can help educate the public on proper meat handling and preparation,” says Palabyab.
Beginning in 1986 when Monterey became part of the San Miguel conglomerate, the company has worked toward building its cattle and hog farms into an integrated system designed to ensure high quality. Monterey pork comes from grain-fed hogs that produce healthy, lean and parasite-free meat. The beef comes from imported Australian cattle fattened with grain and protein concentrates to produce tender and wholesome steaks and other beef cuts.
Monterey meat is distributed in refrigerated trucks to keep the temperature stable from the plant to Monterey Meatshops, where the meat is kept and displayed in chillers and freezers. The NMIS says meat, when chilled, is in the so-called safe zone.
Monterey maintains chilled temperatures throughout the cold chain to preserve the freshness, nutritional values and eating quality of the meat. The cold temperature of chilled meat (kept at below 4°C) enhances safety as it prevents the growth of bacteria which can result in food poisoning.
Monterey tells us that what you think is fresh meat can actually be a health hazard for your beloved family. At the Monterey Meatshops, you are not getting any mystery meats but good value for your hard-earned money. The meat is displayed properly to keep it away from flies, cockroaches and vermin as well as dust and dirt. The butchers are very knowledgeable about cuts so even if you are a newbie in the kitchen, you can ask what cut of pork to use for pork adobo or how many kilos of beef you would need to buy to feed eight people.
There are many other benefits in buying from Monterey Meatshops.
“Tender meat does not require prolonged cooking. Meat without the off-flavor and odor do not need to be seasoned so much. The natural flavors can be better appreciated and the consumers would not be exposed to high levels of sodium and other additives that can be harmful to one’s health,” said Palabyab.
Palabyab says Filipinos are becoming increasingly concerned about the origin of the food that they put on their family members’ plates.
“I believe more and more Filipinos are becoming aware of risks related to “bad” meat, especially now with all these reports about botcha or what is actually meat obtained from animals that are already dead,” she said.
The Monterey Know Your Meat Caravan may be coming to your neighborhood this Saturday. If you want to know the schedule, go to www.facebook.com.page/KNOW-YOUR-MEAT-by-Monterey or follow @KnowYourMeat on Twitter.