In recent years, demand for meat products has risen sharply because of the rapid development of the mining sector, which now accounts for 90% of Mongolia’s gross industrial product, and employs 60,000 people. All mining companies would like to see their workers consume meat and other food products of assured quality, and so the forthcoming Healthy Food-Healthy Mongolian campaign for better quality meat products would get a big boost if the mining sector is to become part of it.
Progress in the agriculture sector has meant that it is now becoming easier for Mongolians to buy meat products procured from areas with no record of animal diseases, thanks to total coverage by competent and reliable veterinary services, and with no chemical residue. The production units and the transport process follow hygienic standards. These products are sold at E-Mart and Nomin Tav Trade supermarkets, the latter also using this quality meat in its Shokoladnitsa restaurants.
In general, however, most of the meat sold at the bigger meat markets give no indication if the animals of origin were properly vaccinated or received veterinary care. A study has shown that 60% of the licensed meat markets in Ulaanbaatar do not have testing facilities, and 30% operate in a contaminated environment.
Most meat products are prepared by hand and transported inunsterilized vehicles, increasing chances of contamination. The World Health Organization has warned that various injections widely used to fatten and deworml ivestock have a negative effect on consumers’ health and can lead to various diseases, including stomach cancer, especially if they are given later than 45 days before the animals are killed. Unfortunately,many meat sellers do not observe such precautions.
To counter this, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Light Industry has started taking measures to assure citizens that the meat products they buy meet health and quality standards. It has announced that a nationwide plan on meat and dairy products called “Value chain and traceability system of animal products and raw materials” will be implemented from January 1, 2019. This is part of the national programme called Industrialization 21:100 taken up under the Law on Animal Health, and will be the first componentof the Healthy Food-Healthy Mongolian campaign. A pilot project was run from November 1 to December 15 at E-Mart and Nomin supermarket chains.
Veterinary certificate applications can be downloaded on an android device and QR code of meat product is scanned to identify the origin of the product.
The success of the trial has persuaded Makh Impex, Makh Market, Erdmeat, Darkhan Meat Foods, Bulgan Makh Market, Bayandelger Food and Meat Factory, Khatant International, Darkhan Nekhii CSC, Thermal Power Station-4,Nomads restaurants, School # 58, Lavai, and Good Price supermarkets to join the programme, whose slogan is:“Healthy and quality assured meat at your table”.
Veterinary origin certificates will be printed as bar code through 1100 private veterinary units in 332 soums of 21 aimags under the supervision of the General Department of Veterinary Services. Veterinarians will schedule vaccination and deworming in spring and fall. Livestock from farmers will be delivered to meat factories7 to 21 days after the vaccination. Since the folic vaccine residue is retained for 3-6 months, animals will be in quarantine for this period, to ensure the distribution of healthy and safe meat for domestic consumption and export.
B.Batkhuu, Director General of Light Industry Policy Implementation and Coordination Department of Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, is optimistic that the campaign for hygienic and safe meat to be launched next year will be successful. When asked how likely mining companies are to join the campaign, he said Oyu Tolgoi is currently finalising the estimates of its meat needs and added that he hoped the many issues regarding the “Value chain and traceability system of animal products and raw materials” programme would be sorted out before implementation begins on January 1.The Agricultural Exchange will play a big role in this, especially in fixing management accountability.
Hefelt such initial problems are only natural. Every company will introduce its own value chain but there must be some support from the government to lessen the possible burden on them.