Preying on the Poor – Double Dead and Hot Meat in the Philippines

Dead Pig The first time I heard about the sale and consumption of double dead meat and hot meat in the Philippines, I suddenly thought we were living in the dark ages. It then dawned on me that this is just another example of people preying on the weaknesses of the poor in order to fatten their own wallets. Despite it being an illegal practice, it continues because the Philippines government does not have the manpower to stop all the offenders, especially when there’s a demand for both kinds of meat (similar to the demand for dogs as food).

What is Double Dead Meat?

The term “double dead” implies an animal already dead being slaughtered for its meat. It applies to all animals, but is primarily focused on pork (pigs, hogs and other swine). From hereon, I’ll keep it on pork because it doesn’t seem to be a problem with meats like beef.

When a pig dies from disease or heat stroke, the pig is supposed to be disposed of (burned and buried), according to Philippine law. I don’t know what the processes are, but the farmers pushing this stuff into the open markets are creating a serious health hazard each and every time they do it.

What is Hot Meat

Hot meat is a bit simpler to define. It’s animal meat which hasn’t or won’t pass agricultural inspections conducted by the Philippines government due to sanitation issues.

Again, the farmers are creating a serious health hazard by bypassing governmental rules and regulations.

The Demand

Poor people want to eat and poor people will eat whatever they can afford. During the “ber” months (September to December), the demand for meat rises dues to the holidays, ending around Christmas Day. The unscrupulous farmers, looking to maximize their profits any way they can, will sell double dead and hot meat that ends up being bought by the poorest of the poor. These are the people who are basically homeless, living in cardboard boxes (among other things) under highway ramps and between buildings.

I’m thankful the government is cracking down and raiding the farms vendors have identified as supplying the tainted meat. It seems to all end up in Quezon City (part of metro Manila) and police have confiscated tons of the bad meat from outdoor vendors there.

It doesn’t seem to be a problem in my area, Olongapo City, and I don’t have to worry about my own relatives accidentally purchasing this meat.

The Health Risks

Even though the sale of double dead and hot meat isn’t an issue locally, I’m still very careful where I buy my meat. I will never buy meat at an outdoor market. The only bacon I’ll buy (when I want bacon) is Pure Foods bacon because of how lean it is and because I trust the source. It’s probably the most expensive bacon in the country.

In 1987 or 1988, while I was on leave and staying with my relatives here (and they still live in the exact same place), I suffered from food poisoning because I trusted my mother-in-law to buy good meat. After nearly a full day of flushing my system due to the diarrhea caused by tainted meat, I found out she had bought it from an outdoor vendor. There’s no telling how long it had been exposed to the elements.

To this day, I will not eat pork products at restaurants – I don’t care if it’s a reputable business like Jollibee or Chowking. It just isn’t happening. I’m careful with other meat products (beef, chicken, etc.) as well.

Philippines Only?

Hardly. Unless you haven’t paid attention, you know about the recent flap over the tainted eggs recalled from multiple places in the US. If things like that can happen in a country that’s supposed to be modern and civilized, how much more often do you think it can happen in other countries who have a bit of catching up to do?

When my son told his nursing school classmates about the kind of foods we eat at home, they chastised him when he mentioned canned foods like corned beef and tuna, saying that fresh meat and vegetables are healthier. Apparently, his classmates have no clue about double dead and hot meat being consumed in the Philippines. Give me a choice between canned foods which have been inspected multiple times and open market foods which haven’t been inspected at all and I’ll take the canned food any day of the week. At least I know it won’t kill me.

Following the News

If you want to know what the Philippines government is doing to stop all this nonsense, I recommend searching for “tainted meat”, “double dead meat” or “hot meat” at GMANews.TV. Don’t worry, the majority of it is in well-written English.