The discovery of rotting meat on the platforms of the Egmore railway station in Chennai, left consumers in the state shocked for more than one reason. Not only was proper protocol not followed in the shipping of over 2,190 kilograms of meat from Jodhpur to Chennai but suspicions were raised about whether the consignment was that of dog meat. The long tails on the carcasses, sparked multiple questions.
But five days after Food safety officials conducted the search and seizure however, it has been revealed that large quantities of meat were that of sheep or goat. According to a report from the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and animal sciences university, one carcass was handed over to them on November 17 and then a request letter was given on November 19 to identify the meat speicies. A molecular technique was used along with a study of the gross anatomical features of the carcass and it was determined that is the meat of sheep or goat.
Speaking to TNM, Dr R Kathiravan of the Food Safety Department says that the sample was sent to the labs as it had created a lot of doubt in public minds.
"The determination of what meat this was, was however a secondary issue for us. The larger problem was that the cargo was not in cold storage as it ought to have been. There are certain guidelines to be followed when meat for consumption is being transported over long distances," he says. "Moreover, this is a case of illegal slaughtering. There is no slaughtehouse marking on the cargo and it has not been certified by a veterinarian. So this our primary issue, irrespective of the meat. It was partially assigned as fish and somehow made it this far without any checks. We are going to put out an advisory on transportation of meat," he adds.
Meanwhile, a team headed by a sub inspector in the railway police has left to Jodhpur on Thursday morning to investigate where the cargo came from and who is responsible for the illegal slaughter.
"We have collected enough information before sending our team. The meat was unconsumable when it reached Chennai. It will take atleast a week for the team to come back," says Senior Divisional Security Commissioner Louis Amuthan. "Transporting meat under the guise of fish is punishable under the Indian Railways Act. Our team will get more details on the consignor from Jodhpur and appropriate action will be taken."