Authorities Seize Rotten Meat Amid Price Rises

15-Sep-09

Authorities Seize Rotten Meat Amid Price Rises

15-Sep-09

Tuesday, 15 September, 2009
The authorities have seized large amounts of spoiled meat being sold on markets in Damascus and the surrounding area, the pro-government website Syria News reported on September 13.



Some of the meat, which included chicken and beef, originated from Brazil while some was locally produced.



In the first half of the current fasting month of Ramadan, 60 cases of rotten meat being sold in Damascus were reported and 30 meat shops were closed down, according to official figures quoted by the website.



It said 20 per cent of butcher shops had been selling rotten meat during this month, at a time when there was when a shortage of meat in the market. The price of meat has risen to a record around 18 US dollars per kilogramme, the website said.



Some critics say that the reason behind the shortage of meat is that Syria continues to export sheep despite demand at home, according to the report.



The agriculture ministry denies this, saying the number exported was relatively small, the website said.



Some Syrian sheep were also smuggled to neighbouring countries, a source at the Farmers Union told the website on condition of anonymity, blaming drought and reduced fodder production in recent years for a drop in the availability of local meat.



The head of the trade department in Damascus, Mahmoud al-Mubayed, said that the rise in the number of eateries for tourists and an increase in the number of Iraqi refugees in Syria had also increased demand, according to the report.



He urged the government to stop exporting sheep for at least two years, to prevent the smuggling of meat and to provide animal feed at affordable prices.



An unnamed official at the ministry of economy said, however, that halting exports would deprive the country of foreign currency income.



He proposed instead that the government import sheep to meet the market’s needs.
Syria Press Monitor
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