The Kochi Corporation’s health squad seized around 1,000 kg of highly decomposed meat from a rundown shed near Eda Kochi on Saturday morning.
The squad led by health supervisor T.K. Beena intercepted a van loaded with the meat as it was about to leave the shed around 6 a.m. The meat, unfit for human consumption, mainly comprised liver and heart portions. The van was on its way to supply the meat to hotels and bakeries in the city. It is learnt that the meat was predominantly used as minced meat, which would be mixed with good meat.
Apart from the load in the vehicle, there was more of the similar rotting flesh in the shed. “A large quantity was found stored in a box filled with ice blocks containing traces of toxic ammonia. The meat was kept in the open in rusted utensils and stained plastic covers,” Ms. Beena said.
The stale meat, which is known as tsunami meat, is learnt to have been procured from the neighbouring States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh for as less as Rs.10 a kg. This meat is in huge demand as it helps hoteliers make considerable savings. It is learnt to be supplied at throwaway prices. The details of the delivery agents are yet to be traced.
The shed, which was abandoned, began to be used as a store for rotten meat over a year ago. Though a person named Kochukoya was found to be operating the shed, the squad was not sure whether he was actually behind the business.
Sampling of the seized meat could not be conducted as the squad did not have the services of a food inspector. “Since it was in such a bad state, we seized and destroyed it at the corporation’s solid waste treatment plant at Brahmapuram,” Ms. Beena said.
T.K. Asharaf, secretary, Corporation Health Standing Committee, said the civic body was on the lookout for ‘tsunami meat’ for quite some time. “We believe that it is in use in various other parts of the city though the meat was seized from West Kochi. We will be conducting exclusive drives to seize stale meat in the coming days. There are reports that a supply network of rotten meat is in operation at Vyttila.”