Pork raids target cold storage facilities

Pork raids target cold storage facilities

Livestock authorities inspect a cold-storage warehouse in Songkhla’s Chana district, on Thursday. The food giant Betagro said the company had told the Commerce Ministry on Monday that it was storing pork at the plant before supplying it to customers in the South over the next five to seven days. (Photo by Assawin Pakkawan)
Livestock authorities inspect a cold-storage warehouse in Songkhla’s Chana district, on Thursday. The food giant Betagro said the company had told the Commerce Ministry on Monday that it was storing pork at the plant before supplying it to customers in the South over the next five to seven days. (Photo by Assawin Pakkawan)

Authorities raided refrigerated warehouses in several provinces on Friday as part of a crackdown on the hoarding of pork amid shortages that have sent prices soaring.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has closely followed up on the situation affecting pork prices, and ordered related agencies to provide him with regular updates on its production and consumption.

The government has implemented a number of measures to address the hiked prices, including a three-month ban on exports of live pigs, along with a requirement for pig farmers and exporters to prepare product inventory, including details on purchasing/sales volumes and prices ready for authorities to check at any time, Mr Thanakorn said.

On Thursday, livestock authorities inspected a facility in Songkhla's Chana district, following the discovery of more than 200 tonnes of unverified pork in a refrigerated warehouse. A total of 201.6 tonnes of pork was seized as authorities could not verify where the pork came from.

Food giant Betagro said the company had informed the Commerce Ministry on Jan 17 that it was storing pork at the facility before supplying it to customers in the South over the next five to seven days. 

The company insisted it had complied with regulations issued by the central committee on the prices of goods and services, and that the stored pork was a normal inventory management practice, not a case of hoarding.

Chatsuda Chumsaeng, Songkhla's commercial officer, said on Friday that an examination of the accounts and inventories of Betagro as well as the operator of the cold storage facility from last May to this January confirmed the two companies were not involved in the hoarding of pork.

Meanwhile, in Chanthaburi, livestock authorities inspected a privately owned refrigerated facility yesterday and seized over 267,000 kilogrammes of frozen meat deemed suspicious.

Authorities in Pathum Thani also raided a cold storage warehouse where they found more than 5,000kg of pork that the provincial commercial office had not been properly informed of as required by law.

In Samut Sakhon, deputy national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas led an inspection of 11 cold storage warehouses thought connected with soaring pork prices.

Pol Gen Damrongsak said an investigation found that 25 companies operating cold storage facilities in provinces surrounding Bangkok are suspected of hoarding pork in excess of 5,000kg without informing authorities, in violation of the Act on the Prices of Goods and Services.

Some operators claimed they were in the process of notifying authorities about pork in their possession as they were informed only recently of new regulations. Their claims are being investigated, Pol Gen Damrongsak said.


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