In the context of the recent Livestock and Meat Sector Expo, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F) highlighted the importance of the Slaughter and Meat Supply Act (S.M.S.A.), which will play an important role for both, farmers and retailers in the future.
The Act is supposed to regulate the slaughtering process of animals in Samoa as well as the supply of meat for the domestic market. The regulations defined within the act are made to ensure a proper production of wholesome local meat, which is hygienically and humanely prepared to meet international standards. As the Ministry pointed out in a press release during the Meat Expo, “the S.M.S.A will have a 3-year grace period”, enforcing the law not before the year 2019.
In general, the Act will only “regulate beef for the interim, [with] inclusions for other species being done as the meat sector progresses”.
The determinations farmers in Samoa will have to meet include the keeping of a logbook on farm to record each animal’s I.D., class and clinical history. These I.Ds will consist of basic information about the animal, such as live weight, carcass weight and results of ante mortem (before death) and post mortem inspection. With the S.M.S.A. being passed, Samoan farmers no longer can “slaughter an animal unless it has received a health exam by an authorized officer [and] carcass cannot [be sold] to a shop unless it has been inspected”.
As for the retailers of meat in Samoa, the future supply act intends to request all of the information that has to be provided by the selling farmer. MAF also demands that retailers of meat “should endeavour to acquire HACCP [Hazard analysis and critical control points] accreditation over the three-year grace period as this will be a mandatory requirement in […] the S.M.S.A. These controlling points serve the purpose of avoiding possible dangers within the contact of food which might lead to diseases.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries was also able to provide an all-clear signal for all hobby farmers in the country, as “slaughters for own consumption”, without the intention of actually selling the meat, will not be regulated by the supply act. This also refers to “emergency slaughter on animal welfare grounds, the slaughter of unmanageable animals which are also not supposed to be sold, [and] slaughter outside a controlled area”. The last three provisions therefore refers to veterinary inspections only.
Within the establishment of the Slaughter and Meat Supply Act in Samoa over the mentioned grace period, M.A.F also explained that there might occur “some challenges during the initial stages of the enactment period [due to the fact that] the food chain production and supply systems in Samoa have been largely unregulated” so far.
However, the Ministry is confident that the implementation of the S.M.S.A. will help to “lift up the industry standards to par with international standards.”