Poisoned Pig-feet Confirmed in Liberia – Commerce & Health Ministries Disclosed

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By: John Dennis Weah, Jr.  

The test results of suspected poison pig-feet product imported into Liberia by Cheaitou Brothers have confirmed that majority of the samples has been tested contaminated with Salmonella Spp, the Ministries of Commerce and Industry, and Health disclosed at a joint press conference yesterday, January 30.

Confirming the contamination of the pig-feet product, Commerce Minister Prof. Wilson Tarpeh who read the press statement said the samples of the pig feet products were taken to the National Standards Laboratory were their test Result were labeled number NSL/RS860-866 issued on January 20, 2019.

The testing of the product involved the (7) referenced Regulatory Samples (sample Name-Pig meat, specially pig feet) and coded as B1 May-860, B1 August-861,  B1 July-862, B2 July-863,  B3 July-864, B4 July-865 and B5 July-866 were analyzed for yeast and mold and Salmonella Spp.

The results also indicated that (5) samples (B1 July-862, B2 July-863, B3 July-864, B4 July-865 and B5 July-866) were detected for Salmonella Spp. Besides, the ministries said a sample (B1 May-860) detected for yeast and mold; while sample coded B1 August-861 shows no detection of Salmonella, yeast or mold, Minister Tarpeh said.

The probe by the two government ministries was a result of the European Union’s surveillance on pig feet meat that showed they contained Salmonella poison. The public was immediately informed at a joint press conference hosted on January 16, 2019, that the international community has hinted the Liberian Government, through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to quarantine the consignment of suspected contaminated pig feet on the local market, the press statement read by Minister Tarpeh announcing the test results said.

It was during which time the public was reportedly informed by the two line ministries that 2,754 Barrels of contaminated pig feet were brought in country by importer Cheaitou Brothers located at Red Light and Bushrod Island respectively.

The Minister of Commerce and Industry reiterated that under the watchful eyes of President George Manneh Weah, the greatest interest of the Liberian people, he averred. He also pointed out that as much as government welcomes opened participatory market it also demands fair-play and will not allow harmful business practices under its watch in the country.

Moreover, Minister Tarpeh has assured the public of the ministries’ commitment to ensure that anyone found in any business practice that endangers the health of the Liberia people will be made to account for their actions in accordance with law.

Following Extensive Investigation

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry says it has discovered an active and illegal practice in existence involving the illicit issuance and or manipulation of Import Permit Declaration (IPDs) by local importers, which it says is seriously reducing GOL Revenues and undermining the viability of local manufacturing companies in Liberia.

The Ministry warned that it is determined to protect Government Revenues and support ‘job-creating’ local enterprises, including the two local flour milling corporations, as well as other local manufacturers, Nails, Biscuits, Candies, Insecticides and Detergents, the public is notified that the following measures will be taken.

Announcing some of the measures, the Ministry said all outstanding flour IPDs, both expired and unexpired should be returned to the ministry for renewal and re-authentication, where appropriate; that BIVAC, by this notice is mandated from issuing any Pre-shipment or Destination inspection numbers or permits; and that all illegally issued and still valid IPDs which are not surrendered to the ministry of Commerce within 10 working days from the date of this publication will be automatically ‘voided’ and hence cancelled, and in such case any commodity of such entering the ports of Monrovia under such IPDs will be denied Clearance.

The Ministry further informed the public that inspectors from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will begin a thorough and vigilant inspection of all import and other documents relating to the flour importation, including nails and other locally manufactured items as specifically emphasized, nails, biscuits, candies, insecticide and detergents among other.

The Commerce Ministry also instructed that all importers are required to have in their possession for review, copies of IPDs, BIVAC CRF, and evidence of paid Customs Duties and other levies; the ministry has concluded that any business (s) found to be illegally importing goods into Liberia, or in breach of these administrative regulations, will be subject to serious penalties according to the law. These penalties include, but not limited to revocation of their Business Registration.

The Ministry states further that these illegal IPDs have resulted in the flooding of the local market with low quality of essential commodities including, illegal imported Flour, Nails, Eggs, Biscuits and other basic products or goods with under-declared value, as well as smuggled flour, all of which are depriving the government of legal revenues.  The ministry then noted that many of the imported flour were being brought into the country with ‘expired’ IPDs.

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