By Andria Kades
European meat inspectors arrived on the island on Tuesday as part of a routine check, according to the vet services.
Reports over the past few weeks have painted an ugly picture of the state of the meat on the market after Politis said frozen meat is imported, left to defrost , loaded on to trucks in back alleys and fields, and then sold on to consumers in Cyprus as fresh.
The vet services said however that the visit by the inspectors was pre-planned and organised long before the reports emerged. It was also a regular occurrence, the services said.
Politis reported the inspectors would be evaluating whether the vet services had the capability to trace and monitor meat, animal food and the animals themselves throughout all the stages of production.
Although tracing the meat would not necessarily guarantee the quality was intact, it would help fight reports that apparently thousands of lambs are taken via truck from Bulgaria to Greece obtaining a Greek stamp, loaded on to a ship and brought to Cyprus.
Upon arrival they are reportedly fed for a week and then taken to local slaughterhouses where they get a Cypriot stamp. Eventually sold on to consumers, they are misled into thinking it is local meat where in fact it arrived from other European countries.
As far as pork is concerned, producers were meeting earlier this week to discuss reports that imported meat was left to defrost and sold on as fresh.
They reportedly brought the matter to the vet services several times even reporting specific examples and are now preparing a letter to authorities.
From their part, reacting to Politis story, the vet service said during checks in September and October they found nothing illegal and sought to reassure the consumers of the quality of meat.
Meat traceability is part of EU law that tracks any food, feed, food-producing animal or substance that will be used for consumption, through all stages of production, processing and distribution.