Although the meat industry in Nepal is a billion rupee industry, it has its flaws. The meat we are consuming is one of the most unsafe and unhygienic food items sold in the market.
Nepal is consuming more meat than ever. Going by the statistics, Nepal consumed 552,000 tons of meat in 2020 rising from the number 375,000 tons the year before. The average Nepali now consumes 18 kilograms of meat annually. Diving into the data, around 700,000 kilograms of poultry meat is consumed throughout the country, making it 46 percent of the total meat consumption followed by 33 percent buff, 17 percent goat meat and 4 percent pork. Nepal is now eating 552,000 tons of meat annually. The country produces meat worth Rs 275 billion per year.
Although the meat industry in Nepal is a billion rupee industry, it has its flaws. The meat we are consuming is one of the most unsafe and unhygienic food items sold in the market. The government is stagnant on improving the quality and hygiene of meat its people have been consuming. All the stakeholders including traders, consumers and the authorities concerned have little to no awareness regarding good hygienic practices which impede meat safety in the country.
This is due to a number of reasons. Some of the prominent reasons are due to the lack of implementation of the Meat Inspection Act 1999 and its Regulations 2001. There is a prevalence of Salmonella species in the meat we consume which causes food poisoning. Similarly, adulteration and contamination of meat during the slaughter by butchers and no basic ante and post mortem check of meat animals before and after slaughter. There is no food inspector to regulate the quality assurance of meat the common people are having. The primary issue is the country lacks modern abattoirs (slaughterhouses) and the present ones are too traditional with no basic infrastructures to deliver clean and healthy meat for wholesome consumption.
To solve all these related issues; a proper facility with meat inspection, quality check and assurance is necessary in major cities around the country. Slaughterhouses act as the starting point of the meat industry, where stock comes from farms/markets to enter the food chain. In major cities, the settlements are too large for individuals to rear their own stock for personal consumption as opposed to villages. So, a proper meat industry is a must.
Meeting the consumption of a large number of users, a systematic and substantial meat plant is a must. An abattoir not only provides an opportunity for inspection and evaluation of meat animals on arrival through ante mortem inspection but also on dispatch of the carcasses, meat products and other parts of slaughtered animals after the postmortem inspection. It improves meat handling process, recovery and utilization of by-products and waste treatment along with hygienic meat as opposed to traditional slaughter which produces a lot of blood and foul smell. Abattoirs afar from residences will also cater for animal safety as they are killed by stunning and making them unconscious rather than brutal conscious killing in traditional meat shops. Similarly the regular customers won't be in compulsion to watch the barbaric killing while buying the meat from the shops. The urbanizing Nepal should pay heed to the need for modern abattoirs in the country.