THE Meat Board of Namibia last week launched its voluntary Seal of Quality certification programme, a hygiene and quality certification programme developed by the board to ensure the purchasing of safe and wholesome red meat and red meat products by consumers and customers at participating abattoirs, butcheries and retail meat outlets.
The Seal of Quality programme strives to support the Namibian red meat industry and the purpose of their logo is to stimulate trust in the products sold at local outlets.
Diana van Schalkwyk, director of Food Chain Solutions (Namibia) and Meat Board member said the pressure of the world’s increasing population and the need to improve living standards resulted in the production of quality meat becoming an important issue as consumers were starting to ask questions about the meat and its origin and the Namibian consumer was no exception.
Two types of quality could be distinguished, Van Schalkwyk said. There is functional quality, which refers to the desirable attributes of the product, and conformance quality, which describes 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 freedom from parasites that may infect humans and microbiological pathogens, as well as hazardous chemicals. People do not want to get food poisoning from eating meat,” Van Schalkwyk said.
In Namibia consumers are demanding locally produced meat which complies with its expected quality standards.
“It is meat produced from animals which are raised naturally, 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 as supplementary feed, antibiotics and other harmful substances,” she said.
The Meat Board of Namibia believes that service to the industry is the key to providing a quality eating experience in Namibia. 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,” Van Schalkwyk said.