Unease among buyers over frozen pork being passed off as fresh

PETALING JAYA: Consignments of “close-to-expiry” imported frozen pork is now circulating in the market, causing unease among some consumers.

Even worse is that some unethical sellers may be trying to pass it off as meat coming from freshly slaughtered local pigs.

The Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia (FLFAM) said the issue arose following consumers’ complaints that pork they bought recently did not taste quite right after being cooked.

The Penang representative for FLFAM, Wong Fu Sheng, said the association received complaints that some who bought such pork said the cooking smelled odd.

“Some pork traders also told us that they bought pork that did not smell right,” he told The Star.

Although the “soon to expire” frozen pork is safe to eat, Wong said consumers were being misled into thinking they were buying local fresh pork when it could be frozen pork that has been in storage for a long time.

“Some traders shared that they also came across frozen pork that should have been diverted elsewhere but ended up in the Malaysian market because of the prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns in China.

“I wonder if the frozen pork is actually rejected stock,” said Wong, who is also Penang Pig Farmers Association chairman.

To make consumers more informed, he called on the government to implement clearer labelling guidelines for pork, such as providing information about the product’s source country, parts, date of packing and stating whether it was quick-frozen.

“We urge the Veterinary Services Department (DVS) to look into this,” he said.

Malaysia Association of Pork Products Importers & Exporters president Datuk Lai Poh Chon said according to government regulations, the shelf life of frozen meat is two years.

When asked if a Malaysian importer has imported frozen pork from Spain that was originally meant for China, he stressed that frozen pork is not “expired” and is still good for consumption, plus, cheaper prices can benefit local consumers.

“The fact is China had cancelled the frozen pork order, and our supplier asked whether we wanted to take that order – we complied with the conditions of the import permit issued by the government,” he said.

The labels on the boxes of frozen pork from Spain to China remained the same because of the time required to change Customs clearance approval and the additional cost, said Lai.

“If the price of frozen meat can be lower to benefit consumers, why the obsession with changing or not changing the labels?” he added.

Lai said Malaysia allows frozen pork to be imported from Spain, Belgium, Australia, Denmark and Iceland.

Meanwhile, DVS has been contacted by The Star for comments on this issue.

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pork , meat , expiry


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