top of page

Here’s how to know if the meat you’re eating is safe

By Sally A. Altea

LEGAZPI CITY --- Consumption of contaminated meat is one sure-fire way for infectious diseases known as zoonotic diseases to spread from animals to humans.

“These diseases often cause flu-like symptoms, and according to the World Health Organization, most flu-like symptoms are attributed to meat consumption,” said Dr. Alex Templonuevo, regional director of the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) at the Ugnayan sa PIA Albay radio program.

Templonuevo said the risk of transmission is especially high in “botcha” or “double-dead meat,” which refers to meat from dead animals that are chopped up instead of being disposed for being unfit for human consumption.

To ensure safe consumption of meat, Templonuevo recommends these five tips in buying and handling meat:

1. Look for inspection marks

Buyers should ask the seller to let them see the meat inspection certificate to verify that it is safe for human consumption.

“The mark of inspection or meat brand must be visible. There are specific branding sites that are spread on the primal parts. That’s 11 for pork and 13 for larger animals,” he said.

2. Look, feel and smell

“Botcha” meat is usually cold and pale in color, a sign that the meat had been frozen.

“This meat has uneven color since the blood tends to clot in some areas. The hair remains stuck to the meat even if scalded or put in hot water,” he said.

Consumers can touch and smell the meat’s surface. A sticky liquid with foul smell is a red flag for “double dead meat.”

3. Buy meat last

The meat section should be the last stop when going to market.

“When you buy meat first, it becomes enclosed or “kulob and underneath the other items. The longer it stays enclosed, the more that the temperature becomes favorable to the binary growth of bacteria,” he said.

4. Chiller is better

The tenderness, juiciness and flavor of the meat can be preserved when it is put in the chiller before cooking.

“Once you buy the meat, put it in chiller first with proper chilling temperature of one or four degrees before putting it in the freezer for proper storage,” he said.

Templonuevo said the glycogen and water content in fresh meat helps preserve its “umami” or its savory, meaty taste. Stress meat, including botcha meat, on the other hand loses its juiciness due to loss in water content.

“Meat is 75 percent water. Once the water drips, it becomes stress meat. The weight also decreases. Later on, the sticky slime develops on the surface and the odor similar to “laing” or dried fish develops,” he said.

This means that the meat is in the early stage of decomposition and unfit for human consumption, he added.

5. Beware of meat sold online

Templonuevo cautions consumers from buying meat online, especially since buyers cannot personally determine the quality of the meat.

“Do not buy meat online especially if there are no labels or if it is imported, the language has no English translations. Our health is at risk especially since there are endemic zoonotic diseases in other countries like the deadly Avian flu,” he said.

For queries and concerns on meat safety, visit the NMIS regional office in San Jose, Camarines Sur. Consumers can call at 09171083280 or email at

The Ugnayan sa PIA Albay is a radio program of the Philippine Information Agency - Albay on third Fridays at 10 a.m. and aired on the PIA Albay page and DWZR – 828 KHZ Zoom radio. (PIA5/Albay)


bottom of page