By Majid Nabi
Srinagar- In what may be referred as a covert assault on human health, dead dressed chicken besides ‘carrion’ is allegedly being supplied in Kashmir, which is then used in different fast-food varieties, including that of steam filled dumplings commonly known as ‘momos’.
A variety of dressed meat including that of chicken, lamb and beef is supplied in Kashmir; however mystery continues to shroud whether the dressed carcasses meet the requirements of slaughter under Islamic law or not.
“Whether the companies that pack caresses in Styrofoam fish containers follow Islamic rules of slaughter or not is a mystery. No one bothers to know whether the meat they consume is of a dead or live animal or a bird. Do even these containers carry Halal certification? Manzoor Ahmad Dar, president Urban Poultry Dealers Association said.
He said the wholesale dealers only know that the dressed meat is brought here from Jamia Masjid Delhi and is Halal.
“However, they don’t know where it actually comes from, as they are interested in profit earning only,” Dar said.
Not only this, Dar said, these dressed chicken injected with preservatives including sodium lactate and potassium lactate are also supplied to fast-food sellers in Kashmir, who then make a variety of dishes out of it and sell them to the people.
He also alleged that hazardous preservatives are mixed to lengthen shelf life of packed carcasses.
Sources said that some farmers also inject antibiotics to raise chicken unnaturally, the way most of the fruits are ripened by injecting red dyes to make them taste sweet and look seasoned.
They said the antibiotics used in poultry poses a serious threat to human health as the majority of people in Kashmir consume white meat in abundance.
An official at the Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department (CA&PD) told Kashmir Observer that 50,000 chickens on an average are supplied to Kashmir every day.
He said trucks loaded with chicken are passed only after blood samples of live poultry are taken for testing to make sure the same is free from any virus or bug. They undergo thorough testing at Lakhanpur Jammu and Lower-Munda in Qazigund check posts.
Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, President Kashmir Valley Poultry Farmers Association claimed that a variety of dead dressed chicken is smuggled into the valley and later distributed among fast-food sellers on extremely cheap rates as was rightly claimed by the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir recently.
“I cannot say everyone, but most of the fast-food sellers use dressed chicken in a variety of dishes like instant pot steamed dumplings or momos, thus putting the lives of people in jeopardy,” Bhat told Kashmir Observer.
Director FCS&CA, Fayaz Ahmad Sofi said the issue has to be looked at by the district administration. He was however quick to add that the matter will be investigated.
When contacted, Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Athar Amir Khan said the civic body will certainly activate the teams of Health and Sanitation Department together with Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department (CA&PD) very soon.
“There will be no compromise when it comes to the health of the general public. We will mobilize all allied departments including (CA&PD) and activate our teams and initiate extensive market checking so that elements involved in the illegal practice are brought to book. I would like to assure people that actions warranted under law shall be initiated soon,” Khan told Kashmir Observer.
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