April 18, 2021

Can Polish meat infect us?

Can Polish meat infect us?

LPolish meat in poor condition has been distributed in Madrid, the Basque Country and the Balearic Islands. The Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition confirmed it yesterday after the European Commission gave the notice. In total, there are 367.58 kilos from cows that have not complied with the "post-mortem" inspection processes at an Ostrów Mazowiecka slaughterhouse. Its workers removed wounds and tumors from the meat that was then destined for sale, as can be seen in the documentary broadcast on Polish television and that has uncovered the irregularities of a network of farms.

The three Spanish communities have already proceeded to the withdrawal of these affected lots and the Minister of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, Maria Luisa Carcedo, yesterday reported that the alert is "preventive", as it is not known that the meat has passed the controls obligatory. In addition to Spain, a dozen countries have imported this meat and some, like Slovakia, has shown resounding in the measures: the Government has been strict ordering the population not to consume meat of Polish origin. It happens that in Poland, as reported by the journalist of the documentary, Patryk Szczepaniak, the black market of diseased meat is not an isolated episode as the Executive claims, but it is more widespread than you think. In December, the owner of a blog in Lodz was sentenced to prison for carrying out a similar operation and, in addition, prosecutors are carrying out another investigation in the east of the country where it is suspected that they are dealing with rotten lots.

"Now what is needed is to track the affected parties to determine if that meat has been processed to make other products and remove them," says the president of the Spanish Society of Public Health (Sespas), Joan Ramón Villalbí. In fact, part of this meat has been found in poor condition in Slovenia: "This is a series of kebabs that arrived in the country through Germany," confirmed the director of the Food and Veterinary Safety Inspection, Andrea Bizjak. . A case similar to that suffered by Slovakia, where it has been distributed in supermarkets.

In spite of everything, the president of Sespas insists on the need to remain calm. What happens, Villalbí continues, is that Spain is a country very sensitive to food alarms because the tragedy that was experienced in the 80s with adulterated rapeseed oil still resonates in the collective imagination. «This was the turning point. It was found that the Spanish market alimantario was full of fraud and served for the authorities to get down to work to reorganize the public health system and food control. In addition, with the entry of Spain into the European Union, "the processes were finished and now surveillance is very high". In Europe, it was the mad cow crisis that shook the markets, filled the tables of consumers with fears, aroused a huge depression in the livestock sector and a great revolution in animal health legislation and controls. Hence, when news broke on Thursday that Poland had exported beef in poor condition, action protocols were soon activated. In this case, they were "animals that did not have to go to the human circuit, like the cows that fall and die".

Europe is a single market in which goods can move freely, hence the importance that quality standards are unique and applied in the same way in all countries. "That makes the European consumer enjoy one of the largest security systems in the world," Villalbí says.

Research should now focus on elucidating the type of health problem of the cows in question "because it will determine what damages they can cause in the consumer," says Domingo Carrera, a specialist in nutrition at the Medical-Surgical Center for Digestive Diseases. In general, he explains, a meat in poor condition can lead to problems in the digestive system, from vomiting to diarrhea, through malaise or fever. But there is also the possibility that "animals have some type of infection, which means that some of the germs could be transmitted human, so we could develop a more virulent infection because it is pathogens that we are not accustomed ». This would be the worst scenario, since "if it has been consumed by many people, it could cause a public health problem".


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