Montenegro: Illegal additives found in fresh meat

Montenegro: Illegal additives found in fresh meat

Podgorica, January 6, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Adnan Prekic

In the past two months the control of veterinary inspection determined that most of the meat shops in Podgorica used illicit preservatives. The inspection found that the meat products in as many as 39 of the 50 butchers in Podgorica, Cetinje and Tuzi, tested positive for vinobran, a preservative whose mixing with meat is strictly prohibited. This preservative is used to deceive customers regarding the freshness of meat. The stores in which the illegal drugs have been discovered have been penalised, but the Montenegrin public demands tougher sanctions.

Meat products (kebabs, burgers and grilled meat sausages) in as many as 39 of the 50 butchers in Podgorica, Cetinje and Tuzi, where Veterinary Inspection in November and December last year performed controls, were found positive for vinobran, preservative which mixing with meat is strictly prohibited. From the Board of Inspection, part of which is the Veterinary inspection, it was confirmed that it is forbidden to use vinobran in meat, and that the inspection ordered the destruction of meat products in which they found preservatives and imposed fines of 5,500 Euros.

Agriculture Minister Petar Ivanovic said that he advocates for increasing penalties for those who violate the provisions of the Law on Food Safety. The minister said that the problem is not caused by the incompleteness of the system, the lack of regulation or bad prevention, but only because irresponsible individuals are not respecting the process, to whom  money is more important than customers’ health.

Traders use this perservative, in order to prolong the intense red color of meat and in this way maximize its shelf life. Vinobran is an approved preservative for wine, and the maximum permissible dose of the preservative is 10 grams per 100 liters of wine.

In fluids vinobran breaks down, but, in order to use preservative for substances in the solid state they must put greater amounts of vinobran, so butchers put vinobran in huge quantities. Montenegrin law prohibits the use of vinobran in any concentration, and even the user’s manual of vinobraní stated  the amount that can be used, which have side effects and the like.

The exaggeration of the use of preservatives can lead to infection of the eyes, lungs, very dangerous side effects on the skin, such as itching and the like, and generally irritate the soft tissues, which after a long period of use can cause a serious disease, such as cancer in the worst case.