Tue, 01 Aug 2000

Wild boar meat sold as beef

JAKARTA (JP): The Jakarta administration warned shoppers on Monday not to buy inexpensive wild boar meat which may be sold in markets as beef.

The meat, believed to have been smuggled in from Sumatra and to have bypassed inspection authorities, has been passed off as beef and sold for as low as Rp 14,000 (US$1.50) a kilogram, the head of the Jakarta Animal Husbandry Agency, Edi Setiarto, said.

In contrast, local beef is sold normally for about Rp 25,000 a kilogram, while imported beef, mostly from Australia, is quoted at Rp 20,000.

"The public has to be careful when they find unusually cheap meat because wild boar meat looks very much like beef. Even a butcher would have difficulty in distinguishing the two," Edi said.

"It is usually sold in streets near market places between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. It (the meat) is packaged in boxes with each kilogram worth only Rp 14,000," he said during a hearing with the City Council's Commission B for economic affairs.

Commission secretary Dani Anwar of the Justice Party said he received information that wild boar meat had also found its way to areas near the Pasar Minggu market in South Jakarta and Pasar Senen market in Central Jakarta.

Dani called on the agency, which must certify all meat brought in from outside Jakarta, to stop the import and sale of wild boar meat.

He said rumors about the sale of the meat in the last two months had caused anxiety among residents, particularly for Muslims who are forbidden by their religion to eat pork.

Edi explained that a joint team of government officials and police personnel caught a vendor selling wild boar meat on Jl. Kelingkit in the Tebet district of South Jakarta at night on July 25.

The team confiscated 740 kilograms of meat from him.

"We took the meat he was selling to our lab. The results confirmed that it wasn't beef," he said.

Investigators learned from the vendor that the meat had come from Sumatra and was packed in a 9-kg package worth Rp 90,000.

The authorities had earlier suspected that the meat had been imported from other countries as beef, he said.

But inspection authorities have checked the imports, he said, noting that imported meat from Malaysia was buffalo meat.

"The agency and the police are now trying to find the mastermind behind the distribution network," he said.

Commission chairman Syarief Zulkarnain urged the public not to buy cheap meat from unauthorized butchers, especially those selling on sidestreets.

"This is a scam," he said. (lup)