Crackdown looms on illegal beef

Crackdown looms on illegal beef

The government has vowed swift action against beef smugglers, as more than 100,000 tonnes of the meat are illegally brought into Thailand every year, government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said yesterday.

Mr Chai yesterday said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has instructed all relevant agencies, including the Customs Department and Department of Livestock Development, to take action to suppress beef smuggling.

He urged all officials to pay closer attention to documents relating to custom clearance and quarantine, in an effort to bolster confidence in Thai livestock exports.

Mr Chai said the smuggling of beef has caused widespread disruption to domestic meat distribution and prices.

The premier, in the meantime, will hold more talks with his foreign counterparts to try and push up meat exports to generate higher income for farmers, according to the government spokesman.

"The customs clearance process and quarantine must also proceed according to the law," he added.

Somkid Chueakong, a prime minister's deputy secretary-general, said many cattle farmers have complained about the low selling price of beef, which has gone down from 100 baht per kg to 70 baht per kg. However, the price of beef in the retail market hovers around 300 baht a kilo.

Mr Somkid said a lot of the beef found in the market was smuggled from neighbouring countries, and some had been re-exported.

As illegal beef does not go through the required customs checks and quarantines, trading partners in other countries have stopped ordering beef from Thailand due to concerns that the meat may be contaminated with foot and mouth disease.

Mr Somkid urged customs and provincial livestock officials to check imported products thoroughly. He said that smugglers had used forged documents to hide illegal beef imports among electronic goods at border checkpoints.

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