7:00 AM
24

Recently, Muscat Daily published this story on melamine contamination in meats in Oman, but it seems no one has really quite "got" it and is taking this seriously. The results published are considerably alarming, especially when melamine levels found in chicken locally obtained from the market here have registered levels in the range of 25.6-73mg/kg. The accepted industry norm is 0.015mg/kg (according to the article) which means in certain cases, the melamine content was over 5000 times the accepted limit. In total, 50% of poultry products tested were contaminated with more than the maximum permitted limit of melamine.

The report in the Muscat Daily stated that meat products tested were from local, regional and international suppliers, but failed to name and shame the brands that had these potentially lethal levels of melamine. In 2008, there was a scandal in China that broke, resulting in 6 infant fatalities and over 850 babies hospitalized and a predicted 300,000 people affected by melamine contamination in food, but mainly milk. So it's a fairly big deal if you regularly eat chicken - if it's contaminated with melamine.

The report is fairly vague on solid facts though - are fresh chicken products safe to eat, are the contamination levels found mainly in frozen and processed products? It's not clear. The study conducted is not dated, and so it's not abundantly clear when these tests were carried out. However, most frustratingly, products and brands were not named and shamed in the report, leaving the reader (well at least me) thoroughly confused and unsure whether I should consider continuing to have chicken in my regular diet.

I contacted Muscat Daily to ask them which brands were the worst offenders, and which were the best, and the response back to me is that the journalist who wrote the article asked the very same question to the Ministry of Health, but they refused to give any details. W.T.F.

Food safety here in Oman has a long history of being abused - we all know stories of buying products only to find they are moldy, or even seeing clearly unfit to eat meat being presented at deli counters in the past. Fridges also are fairly commonly discussed as not cooling products to the correct temperature, and continual freezing, thawing and re-freezing of products is common place as well. One really does wonder whether these test results from SQU are accurate or not, and if so, why on earth nothing has been done by the authorities. 

If local suppliers of meat products don't like it, I would suggest they employed an impartial 3rd party to test and certify their products. What do you think?

le fin.

24 comments:

Clodagh a.k.a. Isra said...

I found this article very alarming yet very vague. We consume a lot of chicken and now I am unsure what to do. How can MD print an article that's is so vague? this is a big deal, but who should be contacted to shed more light? I have always thought Al Saffa chicken to be the safest as they did the campaign last year about not adding anything to their chicken, or hormones etc. Now I am not so sure. I will follow this thread with interest and see if any more details come to light.

Anonymous said...

In the doubt chicken is out of the diet then. It's alarming to be in a situation of darkness about the food that we buy and consume. Now we hear about the chicken,another day is something else. It's impossible to make informed decisions when buying food. And this is not just herein Oman! :(
Ros.

Anonymous said...

This is the mentality of the Middle East - suppress and compress. Why is this surprising to anyone anymore? The fact that they even released the vague, generalizations is a democratic miracle in itself.

Lucie said...

Very alarming! People of Oman deserve to know how safe their food is, or not. Will not be buying any more chicken until the real facts have come to light and companies have been named and shamed! Let the show begin...

Anonymous said...

I always buy A'Saffa and their website suggests their products are free of Melamine.

http://www.asaffa.com/index.php?option=_content&id=51 &mid=50&itemid=50#Q14

Consumer said...

I know for a fact that A'Saffa chicken is 100% natural feed, they dont inject with hormones or any other additives, hence its natural and free of any melamine.

I have always wondered for all those who buy frozen chicken brought up like 10,000 kilometer away from here, i mean the handling, shipping, clearing alone gives me the creeps, where A'saffa is less than a thousand kilometer away in Salalah and it is fresh.

Mendel said...

as an agriculturist, i can safely say that all.i repeat ALL consumable products are contaminated to high degree with all kinds of chemicals.this includes both veggies,meats,cereals.name it.everything we consume.only way is it go organic.the high prevelance of such contaminants is the harbinger of cancers and reduced immunity and reduced fertility.GM foods are evil as well.who am i kiddin?we might as well stop eating and drinking if we cant afford organic..

Anonymous said...

The only thing scarier than melamine is driving on Oman's roads. 26 people died last week in road accidents. Twenty-six.

Jamilla Camel said...

OMG! Better stick with New Zealand beef!

Jamilla Camel said...

OMG! Better stick with New Zealand beef!

Anonymous said...

New Zealand beef is injected with rugby sweat. Equally lethal.

Anokhi said...

I'm glad I'm a vegetarian! ;-) It really is concerning though. If this happened in Europe it would be major news. Here it's more or less ignored. I can only imagine that if the Ministry doesn't want to release information then it must be local meat? Perhaps they want to protect Omani business interests? why else wouldn't they name & shame???

Ilyazz said...

Very Sad.. Not very transparent

Ian McNaught said...

nice find re: Asaffa chicken. In the absence of any other information, I think I will exclusively buy Asaffa from now on.

smokingunnz said...

Sounds like the jury is out from the title of your blog. Maybe "allegedly" would be more appropriate. An is it really "all chicken". I haven't read the original article or seen the research results but it certainly sounds alarming. Thanks for pointing it out.

bkcgenie said...

I remember there once was a study in India on the presence of antibiotics in brands of Honey sold out there. Each Brand was publicly named and the amount of antibiotics in it was mentioned alongside. This story itself took almost half of the Front Page of the newspapers.

Anonymous said...

Organic meat may be contaminated with melamine due to the feed sources. What organic chickens are fed? If it's soy meal from China -- a cheap source of protein -- it may also contain melamine some sites says so.

CASE : Cheap Chinese soy meal was delivered to 127 "organic" chicken farms in France. Nobody yet knows how many organic chicken farms in the U.S., Canada, U.K. or Australia might also be feeding their chickens toxic levels of melamine.

pushkarev ru said...

wouldn't be surprised if saffa sponsored this study.

Anonymous said...

A'saffa, Barka and Dana all feed on natural feed from Oman Flour Mills. Don't eat ANYTHING from Brazil. And of course Australian and NZ meat.

Anonymous said...

This brings the subject of Baby Carrots you buy in the Supermarkets - Good to Know

The following is information from a farmer who grows and packages Carrots for IGA, METRO, LOBLAWS, etc.

The small cocktail (baby) carrots you buy in small plastic bags are made using the larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots. Most people probably know this already.

What you may not know and should kno w is the following: once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them (this is the same chlorine used your pool) since they do not have their skin or natural protective covering, they give them a higher dose of chlorine.
You will notice that once you keep these carrots in your refrigerator for a few days, a white covering will form on the carrots, this is the chlorine which resurfaces. At what cost do we put our health at risk to have esthetically pleasing vegetables which are practically plastic?

We do hope that this information can be passed on to as many people as possible in the hopes of informing them where these carrots come from and how they are processed. Chlorine is a very well known carcinogen.

Please let us make this information available to as many people as possible. If you care about your family and friends, pass it on

Kate said...

I find food shopping in Oman a depressing experience. I am unable to make informed decisions about what to feed my family because no information is given.

Anonymous said...

Chlorine on carrots? Most of us have lived where it is readily found in tap water.

Lucie said...

Excellent, my shopping list/bill has just halved. No comments on the perils of canned produce? Is anyone going to shed light on the pesticide use on local fruit and veg? About to give up eating altogether...

Anonymous said...

I am a chicken and can guarantee that I am contaminated so don't eat me try fish instead!!!

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