Double dead meat, aka hot meat, is a Filipino term designating meat or poultry sold in markets, which have already died from disease before having been cut up. The term botcha is also used interchangeably with double dead meat. The term is said to originate from two Chinese words bot and cha, which means “do not eat”.
The source of hot meat that has been circulating the country is still uncertain. However, past accounts of smuggling from China would tell us that the issue is not something new anymore. It must be recalled that, among others, a shipment of double dead meat from China was stored at the Customs warehouse and found its way to a meat processing company in Pampanga. In any event, the issue of the proliferation of double dead meat in various markets all over the Philippines has been plaguing the country just recently, especially since majority of the Filipinos are meat lovers.
The distinguishing characteristics of meat being double dead are: foul smell, pale color with greenish-gray or bluish hue, dark hide, hair remain stuck to the meat’s fat albeit having been dipped in boiling water, sticky and slippery. To be sure, the buyer should avoid buying frozen meat kept in boxes and those that are sold in unusually low prices. Instead, the buyer must look out for meat with pinkish or reddish color with some traces of blood, signifying that it is fresh.
Instead of being displayed in markets, the meat should be properly disposed of and burned. The health repercussions of consuming the meat of a sick animal are readily apparent. First, the nature of the disease is unknown, not to mention the medication administered to the animal. Second, a dead animal is likely to contain germs, microorganisms and some unknown parasites which could be absorbed by humans when the animal’s meat is consumed, notwithstanding that the same is cooked. Thus, the person suffers from severe diarrhea and food poisoning.
As a precaution, the public is advised by the government to buy meat only from their trusted meat vendors with licensed outlets certified by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS). This certification should be posted on the vendor’s stall or establishment. Moreover, the purchaser should see a NMIS inspection mark on the meat before buying one.
Finally, the public must be aware that the sale of hot meat is strictly contrary to the Meat Inspection Code, as well as the Consumer Act of the Philippines and other local ordinances, and is penalized by imprisonment. Thus, the public is urged to immediately report to the local officials any knowledge of the presence of these double meat traders and of their activities.