The Meat Board of Namibia this week launched a voluntary hygiene and quality certification programme called the Seal of Quality to ensure the purchasing of safe and wholesome red meat and red meat products by consumers and customers at participating abbatoirs, butcheries and retail meat outlets.
The Meat Board said the programme strives to support the Namibian red meat industry and the purpose of its logo is to foster trust in the products sold at Namibian outlets.
According to Dr. Diana van Schalkwyk, Director, Food Chain Solution, the pressure of the world's increasing population and the need to raise living standards resulted in the production of quality meat becoming an important issue as consumers started to ask questions about the meat in retail and where it comes from. "Namibian consumer was no exception", she said.
She elaborated on the meaning of quality and advised that two types of quality could be distinguished, namely functional quality, which refers to the desirable attributes of the product, and conformance quality, describing the production and manufacturing of a product that would meet the consumer's specifications.
"The wholesomeness of meat also has different components. Meat should be safe to eat, both in terms of being free from parasites that may infect humans and microbiological pathogens, as well as free of hazardous chemicals. People do not want to get food poisoning from eating meat," she added.
In Namibia consumers are demanding locally produced meat which complies with expected quality standards.
"Meat produced from animals which are raised naturally, [and] treated according to FAN Meat principles, is tender, tastes good and is safe and affordable. Locally produced meat also has an additional benefit as it is free from growth stimulants, animal products such as supplementary feed, antibiotics and other harmful substances," she said.
The Meat Board believes that service to the industry is the key to providing a quality eating experience in Namibia by Namibian consumers. "The aim to aggressively market the certification programme will ensure that the Namibian red meat industry flourishes and consumers can enjoy healthy red meat."
"Wherever you see the SEAL OF QUALITY, be assured that the Meat Board of Namibia's hygiene and quality standards are adhered to," said Dr. van Schalkwyk.