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Two tonnes of smuggled beef goes up in flames



Two tonnes of smuggled beef goes up in flames | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: Nearly two tonnes of smuggled beef went up in smoke at the Phuket Incinerator in Saphan Hin on Sunday. The meat, worth an estimated 153,600 baht, was from cattle infected with foot-and-mouth disease, said Phuket Vice-Govenor Smith Palawatvichai.

Most smuggled meat was from diseased animals and was of low quality, he added.

According to a press release issued by the Department of Livestock Development, the meat originated in India and was packaged under the brand names Allana, EatCo and ALM.

Sakchai Sriboonsue, director general of the Livestock Development Department, said the meat came in 96 packs weighing 20 kilograms each.

The entire shipment was smuggled into Phuket through the Tah Chat Chai checkpoint. It was discovered on December 20 in an outdoor freezer on Soi Siangtai, off Thepkrasattri Rd in Phuket City, he said.

Somboon Intharat, the owner of the storage unit, was found to have brought the meat into Thailand without a permit or correct health certification, and without following Customs regulations, he said.

Somboon, who will be fined an as-yet undisclosed amount, has been charged under sections 29 and 39 of the Department of Livestock Development Animal Epidemics Act of 1956, which aims to stop the spread of epidemic diseases in livestock.

The meat was incinerated under Section 39 (4) of that act, he said.

This was the sixth time that smuggled meat had been incinerated in Phuket since November 2007.

“We have a network of 70 animal-quarantine checkpoints across the country. We are strict about enforcing the law against people who import meat without permission from the Department of Livestock Development.

“We are concerned about the safety and quality of food. It is very important for tourism, business and our people,” said K. Sakchai.

Between October 2006 and September 2007, 650 arrests were made nationwide for animal and meat smuggling.

During the same period, Customs seized more than one million ducks, 25,000 chickens and almost 2,000 goats, as well as more than 40,000kg of poultry meat. The total value of animals and meat seized was estimated at 92.3 million baht, added K. Sakchai.

Vice-Gov Smith said, “If we let this kind of meat into our country, it will bring epidemics and damage our health. Thai Customs and Thailand in general will lose income as this meat is very cheap. We will cooperate with the Department of Livestock Development to investigate any leads.”

People with information about illegal meat importation are urged to contact the Department of Livestock Development by calling 026-534444, ext 4371.


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