WINDHOEK, 16 MAY (NAMPA) - No kangaroo meat was imported into Namibia during 2013, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry said on Thursday.
The Permanent Secretary in that ministry, Joseph Iita said in a media statement issued on Thursday their records indicate that kangaroo meat was imported into Namibia, and permits issued in that regard, to Capital Meat in 2010 and Deep Catch Trading in 2012.
Iita said it is the legal responsibility of any company or individual food producer in Namibia to label all products accurately in order to inform the consumer what the product contains.
'If for example, kangaroo meat is used in a particular sausage, pie, or other processed product, the consumer has a legal right to be informed in order to make an informed decision as to whether he or she wishes to consume such a product or not,' he said.
Last month, the Namibia Consumer Trust (NCT) made public the mislabelling of processed meat in the country after it sent 10 samples of processed meat from various outlets in low to high-income areas in the capital to the Food and Allergy Consulting and Testing Services in South Africa.
Traces of kangaroo meat were found in a product labelled ?droewors chilli pepper?, which also contained beef and mutton.
Iita said the import permit specifies, amongst other requirements, strict conditions which must be complied with regarding the country and abattoir of origin; the final destination of the meat; and the means of transportation, ensuring continuation of a specific cold chain.
In the case of kangaroo meat, the production of the meat must be in accordance with the Australian Standard of Hygienic Production of game meat for human consumption, No. AS4464:1997.
The consignment must be inspected and sealed by an official veterinarian in the country of origin, who is required to complete a detailed health questionnaire.
He said other conditions such as specific laboratory tests, or prior treatment of animals or animal products depending on the consignment and the country of origin, may be required by the Directorate of Veterinary Services.
Iita said the seals are broken by a veterinary official in Namibia, who checks if the temperature record of the entire journey verifies the documentation, inspects the meat and may request additional laboratory tests if necessary.
?The meat is released to the importer only if it is fit for human consumption,? he added.
Capital Meat was in the spotlight in January 2010 when Atlantic Food Services, the catering company which held a tender to supply meat to school hostels in the North, cut all ties to Capital Meat in the wake of a revelation that Capital Meat sometimes mixed kangaroo meat into their sausages (boerewors) and mince products.
The supply of local meat products blended with imported kangaroo meat to a number of State hostels in Namibia also raised alarm among local meat producers and the Tender Board of Namibia that same year.
According to the Otjiwarongo State Veterinarian?s Office, Capital Meat imported 100 000 kilogramme of kangaroo meat into Namibia since August 2009.
Deep Catch, on the other hand, has markets in Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with the focus on importing/exporting trading fish, seafood, poultry, pork, beef, processed meats and foods, dairy products, frozen vegetables, canned foods and various other food commodities in frozen, fresh, dry and chilled form for the food service, retail and wholesale industry.