Rabat – For several Moroccan families, Eid al Adha celebrations weren’t as pleasant as expected. Numerous photos and videos, taken on the second day of Eid, made their way to social networks showing meat of slaughtered sheep spotted with odd colors.
The National Food Safety Authority (ONSSA) has warned that such meat is not safe for consumption.
Commented on pictures of green-, blue-, and gray-colored meat posted on social media, some users speculated that the sheep had force-fed, injected with hormones, or infected by bacteria.
The problem, which also affected Algeria, has led to the intervention of specialists.
Abdelghni Azzi, the head of the animal and animal food products and by-products safety division at the ONSSA, explained that the discoloration of meat was not caused by the conditions of breeding.
It is rather caused by “non-compliance with the rules of hygiene and the cold chain. Some families even let the carcasses hang in their balconies until the third day of the Aid,” stated Azzi.
The specialist said that such contamination occurs while the meat is being prepared. Several factors could have led to the growth of bacteria, such as the use of water to wash the carcasses and this summer’s high temperatures, which varied between 25 and 45 degrees.
The discolored spots are the result of meat decomposition caused by physico-chemical changes of blood, giving the meat a greenish color, explained the specialist.
He stressed that the discolored meat is unfit for consumption. Consumers should throw out any meat that is discolored or that emits nauseating odors.
Consumers can also contact the local veterinary services to determine the specific the causes of discoloration through sampling and analysis.
Such decomposition of meat is not completely avoidable, added Azzi. “Even if several precautions have been taken by consumers, no one can work in a hundred percent hygienic conditions except in clinic rooms,” he said.
Azzi denied claims that the sheep had been force-fed: “If the animal had been force-fed, it would have been easily detectible and any buyer.”
The Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water, and Forests previously announced that sacrificial animals were in a good health state in all regions, owing to the various actions taken by the officials in the sector.
Health monitoring of livestock and vaccination campaigns carried out by the veterinary services of ONSSA and required health checkups by veterinarians against contagious animal diseases verified that the animals were not infected.