The veterinary wing of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) on Friday conducted surprise inspections at meat shops and canceled the licenses of three shops that were mixing beef with mutton.
According to the reports, the veterinary wing chief Nuthalapati Sridhar had received complaints from the locals and conducted surprise inspections at multiple locations. On receiving several complaints, the VMC had decided to investigate the claims of mixing of beef in mutton by the butchers across the city.
The special teams headed by a veterinary assistant surgeon (VAS) Sridhar carried out surprise checks at Moghalrajpuram, Ayodhya Nagar, Jammi Chettu Centre and near Amma Kalyana Mandapam and seized 200 kg of adulterated meat. The civic body also imposed a penalty of Rs 10,000 on all three shops and canceled the trade licenses.
“People should be cautious while purchasing meat. One should check the seal of the civic body along with the date of slaughter. We will continue inspections in the city and take stringent actions on meat traders in the coming days,” Sridhar said.
Reportedly, the butchers allegedly mixed beef with mutton as a measure to earn quick money as beef is much cheaper than mutton. The beef is available at an affordable price of Rs 250 to Rs 300 per kg, in comparison to the mutton being sold at approximately Rs 500 to Rs 600 per kg in Vijayawada.
The VAS said that a continuous seven-day drive has already begun to sensitise the butchers to encourage their customers to bring steel utensils for carrying the meat, in order to stop the circulation of single-use plastic bags. He added that a notice will be given to each shop, containing a list of measures to be taken upon their respective premises, including selling of meat in a clean and hygienic atmosphere.
The action by the Vijayawada authorities was perhaps prompted after there were reports that illegal beef trade had rampantly increased in the state. Recently, the Andhra Pradesh police had busted a beef smuggling racket and seized about 10 tonnes of suspected beef.
The meat was being smuggled in a container from Visakhapatnam to Chennai and the vehicle driver and cleaner were taken into custody. During the investigation, the accused confessed that the meat smuggling gang has been operating for the last few years.