Following the World Health Organisation’s recent report that processed meat and red meat can contribute to cancer, Namibia’s major red meat exporter, Meatco, has assured the public that it constantly measures itself by benchmarking its practices against the best in the world.
This it does through regular audits by independent, internationally recognized auditing companies, which include SAI Global, SGS and Grolink, it says.
Meatco also emphasised that it adheres to stringent European Union (EU) standards.
This means that regular inspections of its factory procedures are done including its operations as well as its producers’ farms and farming practices, resulting in the most stringent standards adhered to throughout the supply chain to be able to supply its lucrative markets.
Meatco yesterday reacted to questions after the Namibian nation did not take lightly to conclusions drawn by the World Health Organisation’s latest report on red meat, which warns against the cancer-causing risks of eating too much red meat and processed red meat products.
Communication officer at Meatco, Rosa Thobias, said audits done at Meatco include the ISO 9001, HACCP and BRC certification, among others.
“Meatco takes pride in being Namibia’s largest beef exporting company. This exceptional achievement is a combined effort between our Namibian farmers who produce outstanding, naturally raised slaughter cattle, our factories that add value to every product by adhering to the most stringent, extreme and comprehensive quality and food hygiene standards, as well as our final products which are packed to maintain the cold chain and able to be traced back to the farm of origin.”
“In our efforts to become a leading and admired provider of premium products to niche markets, Meatco has assumed the responsibility of running its business in accordance with the highest technical, ethical, social and environmental practices,” she noted.
Meatco says its producers are responsible for the welfare of their animals and must ensure that they are aware of all of the welfare standards. Veterinary records are kept and annual veterinary inspections are carried out. All animal handling facilities must be designed to ease handling of the animals and prevent injuries. The animals must be handled carefully to prevent stress and injuries and the vehicle must comply with the conditions of the code of practice for the transportation and handling of animals.
Adequate handling facilities at the point of loading and offloading must be available and no features of the environment that could cause recurring injuries to animals must be present.
“Meatco views animal welfare as a priority for all producers. All farms registered with Meatco must be members of, and fully adhere to, the Farm Assured Namibian Meat (FANmeat) scheme.”
“Upon arrival at our processing facilities, deliveries are registered, and all cattle are inspected by Meatco’s animal welfare officer. Once in resting areas within our intake lairage, cattle are supplied food as required, and water is available consistently. Our trained staff are experts in low stress handling and after a fixed period of rest, the cattle are led into the processing facility,” she explained.
Regarding factory procedures regarding quality and food hygiene, Thobias said the characteristics of the cattle Meatco slaughters include free range animals, no antibiotics, strict processes, quality assurance, traceability and 100 percent “no hormones”.
“It very important for each Namibian to follow a balanced diet and eat everything in moderation of course,” she said.