This is scary but is it all that surprising? Food quality is an important issue, particularly food hygiene and how it is handled and disposed of.
The Deputy Governor of Jakarta, Prijanto, has called on the community to be more vigilant and to report irregularities. This call to action comes after rotten meat was found in local markets. As a matter of interest who remembered that Prijanto was the Deputy Governor of Jakarta. Has anyone heard his name uttered since he was chosen to be the No. 2?
This is scary because I try and do the right thing and buy local, support my local community, and buy my fresh food stuffs from local market vendors. My local market does not sell Vegemite and other "essentials" so I have to go to a supermarket for some of the basic necessities.
This is also not surprising when one considers there was a bit of an uproar when it was publicly confirmed that bakso sellers were treating their meatballs with formaldehyde to make the meat last longer.
The basic complaints in the market meat trade are that the meat is not fresh or that some vendors actually dye pork meat red and then sell it off as beef. The big concern is that some unscrupulous vendors are visiting garbage dumps where it is known that hotels and restaurants dump their out-of-date meat and the vendors then collect it for "recycling". Recycling in this sense means that the meat is dyed to make it look fresh, repackaged, and then sold as fresh meat. This certainly gives new meaning to the idea of waste not want not.
It is worth noting that this is reasonably big business as the repackaged meat can be sold for up to IDR 100,000. This makes recycled meat a nice little income earner. The health benefits aside of course. And with Eid approaching the fresh meat market is likely to see prices spiral even higher. Funnily enough the government has warned people to be wary of low-priced meat. But, there is nothing low-priced about meat selling at IDR 100,000 per kilo.
It seems that the beef market is not the only one where unscrupulous traders are operating. The government is also reporting that it has found inflated chickens in the Kemiri Muka market. Inflated chickens sound like some kind of fetish sex toy. However, it turns out that vendors are sealing the chickens and then using a bicycle tyre pump to inflate the chickens to make them look a little better fed than they really are. It must be noted that inflated chickens are probably not the same health risk that rotten meat is.
Some might think that I am being critical of Indonesia and wonder why I hate Indonesia so, and if I hate Indonesia so then why do I choose to live here and stay here. For those of you pondering such deep philosophical questions, here is my answer. I am writing about things that interest me. Sometimes these musings might paint a less that stellar picture of Jakarta, but this should never be construed as me hating Jakarta or thinking anything less of Jakarta or her citizens. To the contrary, it is these very experiences that make Jakarta what it is. Can it be frustrating, yes! But these frustrations are not just frustrations for foreigners, they are frustrations endured (enjoyed) by Indonesians as well.