“There are many unhygienic practices, very little supervision and very little care for quality,” Ashok C Khosla, a Delhi-based food consultant told the conference. Sanjay R. Bhoosreddy, a senior official at the Indian government’s animal husbandry department, highlighted that there was no standard operating procedure for running abattoirs in India. He pleaded with delegates to share with him a functional operating procedure, which could be officially adopted for the whole industry, but none were forthcoming.
According to Khosla, meat traders across India are guilty of malpractices, such as injecting water to increase the weight of chickens and passing off layer chicken meat as that of broiler chicken, although he did not criticise specific abattoirs regarding these problems.
Globalmeatnews.com visited the Ghazipur abattoir and saw freshly slaughtered animals lying in the car park, carcases being carried on shoulders to be dumped in dirty vans, blood flowing in all directions, all watched by thousands of hovering kites (birds of prey) looking for a meal.
The slaughterhouse was opened in 2008 as an integrated facility, with goat, chicken and fish markets and a daily capacity to kill 4,500 animals. It was carefully designed with functional motorised conveyer belts and proper sanitation facilities. However, it appears that local traders working at Ghazipur in the morning continue to use unhygienic practices.
One local trader, who refused to be named, claimed that despite these scenes, the meat sourced in this way that is actually sold to consumers was actually safe after butchering. “It is only the outer skin which is spoiled, the meat inside is hygienic,” he said.
The scene at the plant changes at 2pm, when the local traders supplying open markets leave and employees of major food companies move in with refrigerated trucks. “They wash the whole place and the work is supervised by educated people,” said the trader.
The system ensures that those willing to pay extra get a quality product, explained Khosla.