By Andria Kades
The meat market in Cyprus needs to be put in order, the House health committee heard on Thursday during a discussion of a draft bill requiring packaged meat to have the country of origin on display.
The proposal, by DIKO MP Angelos Votsis is because consumers today “are at risk of eating any form of meat from anywhere without knowing what meat it is or where it is coming from,” DISY’s Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis said.
“Even the kind of meat can be different than what they pretend it is. This situation is inexcusable,” he said.
The bill would require local meat has the country of origin on the packaging. This would not affect production costs, Hadjiyiannis said.
Citing honey and olive oil as examples, he specified the bill would only concern products produced or manufactured in Cyprus. Those arriving from other countries would not have a country specification thereby consumers would understand they are not local, he added.
The veterinary services were the only authority which seemed hesitant as this would be a potential source of additional work.
“This is not a logical argument. We must ensure the quality and the origin of the kind of meat,” Hadjiyiannis said.
If pushed forward, the proposal could also put an end to the phenomenon of people selling defrosted meat as fresh. In emerged last October that deals were being made in back alleys or remote fields where frozen meat was loaded to different trucks after it was sold so as to avoid prying eyes or checks.
Deputies also discussed creating a biobank, Cyprus being the last EU country choosing to make the move, according to DISY MP Nicos Nouris. A biobank is a facility that stores biological samples for use in medical research.
MPs expressed the ‘political will’ to create an advisory committee to the health ministry on the creation of a national biobank.
The University of Cyprus already operates a biobank participating in a European research programme however it has requested ministry support so it can implement the second phase of its participation in the programme deemed “extremely beneficial” for Cyprus.