Standard requirements for Baguio Meat vendors imposed

A proposed ordinance prescribing standard requirements for all meat shops in the city has been enacted recently by the Baguio City Council.

Authored by Councilor Philian Weygan-Allan, the ordinance seeks to strengthen the provisions of existing national laws such as Republic Act No. 9296 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, Republic Act 10611 known as the Food Safety Act of 2013, and the Department of Agriculture Administrative Order Nos. 5 and 6 series of 2012. These laws provide for the proper and sanitary handling and selling of meat and meat products in markets and slaughterhouses.

Under the proposed ordinance, the following shop planning and design requirements are imposed:

The minimum dimension of a shop (length and width) should be 2 meters x 2.50 meters.

Floors and walls should be made of impervious materials. All floors shall be kept clean and preferably dry at all times;

Interior walls and partitions shall be made of impervious and non-toxic materials that are easily cleaned and disinfected. They shall be built to a height of not less than 1.22 meters from the floor

Partitions shall not extend up to the ceiling to facilitate circulation or free movement of air;

Display tables and counters made of stainless steel shall be provided with adequate and approved table drains. They shall be made entirely open underneath, without drawers and shall be kept smooth and clean;

Display tables shall be made entirely open underneath without drawers and shall be maintained clean and smooth;

A minimum area of 0.74 square meters of open space shall be provided per customer and a queue may be maintained should there be an overflow;

ceilings must be light-colored and free of ledges; and

There should be separate display areas for fish, meat, and poultry.

Among the sanitation requirements under the proposed ordinance is the presence of adequate supply of potable water; proper disposal of sewage to a sewerage system or compliance with Chapter XVII (Sewage Collection and Disposal, Excreta Disposal and Drainage” of the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines; availability of a sewer line from toilets and urinals that disposes of the cleaning refuse; provision of floor drains and grease traps; and installation of a proper drainage system and sanitary hand-washing facilities.

Likewise, the proposed ordinance shall impose requirements on zoning, hygiene, electrical and lighting, solid waste management, hygiene, and food handling and packaging.

These standard requirements shall apply to all meat vendors and meat dealers in the city market, satellite markets, retail stores and supermarkets, and other vending modalities in the territorial boundaries of the city.

According to the ordinance, all individuals planning to put up new meat shops/stalls shall incorporate in their structure design all the standard requirements stipulated in the ordinance. Owners of existing meat shops/stalls shall be given three years to fully comply with the prescribed standard requirements.

Penalties ranging from P1,000.00 to P5,000.00 shall be imposed on non-compliant shop owners.

The ordinance has been transmitted to the City Mayor’s Office for the approval of Mayor Benjamin Magalong. –Jordan G. Habbiling