UGANDA – The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has taken decisive action to elevate the quality of meat available in the Ugandan market.

After conducting a comprehensive inspection of butcher shops nationwide, it became apparent that the hygienic conditions of the meat being sold were far from satisfactory.

In response to these concerns, UNBS has introduced a series of stringent measures for butchers to follow, with the primary objective of improving public health and safety. This initiative was officially launched during a hygiene standards sensitization meeting with all butcher shop owners in Kampala.

All butchers in Uganda are now mandated to comply with “US 736: 2019 Hygienic Requirements for Butcheries.” This document outlines the essential hygiene standards that must be met within their premises.

Rehema Meeme, a Standards Officer at UNBS, stressed that this move aligns with UNBS’s core mission of ensuring the protection of public health, safety, and the environment against dangerous and substandard products.

The central goal is to ensure the quality and safety of meat and related products, ultimately safeguarding the well-being of Ugandan consumers.

The inspections revealed numerous violations of standards, including the inappropriate proximity of butcher shops to other establishments, inadequate sanitary facilities, and concerns regarding the use of pesticides and chemicals.

To ensure the effective implementation of these measures, UNBS will conduct comprehensive training programs for butchers and individuals involved in the meat industry nationwide.

Awath Aburu, another Standards Officer at UNBS, provided further insights into the requirements outlined in the standards. Butchers and shop owners are now obligated to strictly adhere to general standards and guidelines.

This includes possessing occupation permits for their premises, holding valid trading licenses, and maintaining on-site first-aid kits. They must also sell only hygienic meat and meat products while employing appropriate insect traps and screens.

The standards also provide detailed instructions for the construction of butcher shops, emphasizing the use of smooth and easily cleaned food-grade surfaces. They also call for separate areas for offal and other meats and the use of shatterproof or hardened translucent plastic barriers.

In terms of personal hygiene, the standards mandate that personnel must maintain cleanliness and regular bathing before handling meat. They must wear complete and clean personal protective gear and be medically fit for their duties.

Furthermore, the standards regulate operations within butcher shops, requiring that meat for sale be displayed on hooks inside the shops, with meat from different animal species displayed separately.

Transportation of meat is also addressed, necessitating clean, fly-proof, cold, and closed vessels with non-absorbent surfaces. Vehicles used for meat transportation must also be inspected and approved by a competent authority.

UNBS’s proactive approach to enhancing meat quality in Uganda is poised to make a significant difference in the lives of Ugandan consumers, ensuring safer and more hygienic meat products in the market.

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