The confusion and apprehensions over quality of beef available in the market, triggered by the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease among cattle, has prompted the Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association to purchase and sell beef that is safe for consumption.

The association has also demanded urgent government action to stop attacks on hotels by groups on the pretext of destroying “poor quality meat-based food” and attempts by some dealers to increase meat prices, exploiting the alarm set off by the epidemic.

At a press meet on Tuesday, spokesmen for the association Sumesh Govind and Mohammed Suhail said the district executive, at its recent meeting, had decided to directly distribute safe beef after ensuring that it was of good quality and safe for consumption in view of the widespread public fears. The spokesmen said such fears had led to serious problems at hotels in north Kerala where beef made up a major part of the non-vegetarian menu.

The association spokesmen said that since the government had not imposed any controls on sale of cattle meat, the association was forced to take steps to allay public fears over this issue by taking on the responsibility to make available good-quality beef to restaurants.

Mr. Govind and Mr. Suhail warned there would be an agitation if the police failed to prevent further attacks on restaurants and if the government did not intervene to keep in check prices of chicken and other meat.

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