Human finger in meat sparks sanitary scandal in Belarus

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

The discovered finger has sparked outrage across Belarus
The discovered finger has sparked outrage across Belarus
A woman from Grodno Oblast in Belarus has discovered a human finger in a pack of poultry by-products, purchased at one of the local supermarkets.

The incident has sparked strong concerns among consumers over quality control in the domestic meat market.

The woman immediately called the police, who started investigating the matter. The Ministry of Internal Affairs said in a statement that the product had been released by a company based in Minsk Oblast, adding that it was likely some kind of “accident took place at the production facility​”.

However, the Ministry refused to disclose which company had released the product, in response to a request from GlobalMeatNews​.

A photo with the finger lying among the poultry products was posted on several social media sites in Belarus on 22 June. In comments accompanying the photo, local residents claimed the accident had happened due to a lack of quality control over meat products in the market. 

Local news outlet Tut.by claimed that, according to some reports, the police had found the owner of the finger, saying the person concerned actually had several fingers missing on his hands. No information has been given as to where the other fingers might be.

No reason to worry

The Belarus Consumer Rights Protection Society (BOZP), however, told GlobalMeatNews​ it would be wrong to say this incident was evidence of a lack of control in the domestic meat market or at the facility itself. BOZP added that a similar accident could take place in a production facility run by any other company.

Some comments made alongside the photo on social media noted that similar incidents had taken place in Belarus previously. In particular, some time ago, another customer posted a photo showing something that looked like rat fur inside a sausage. The sausage was purchased in a supermarket in Minsk Oblast, the person who took the photo revealed.

While this is the first instance of a finger being found in meat products in Belarus, rats are believed to be a common problem for some of the country’s meat producers. In particular, Richard Stephanovich, former director of the Gomel Meat Processing Plant, one of the biggest meat producers in Belarus, who is now facing trial for not reporting sanitary problems at his production sites, said that rats had existed at his plant for many years.

London has been struggling against rats for 500 years and has failed to eliminate that problem as well, Stephanovich said during court hearings in late 2017. The rats at the facility had been living there for many years, when Stephanovich took it over from the former director in 2011, he said, revealing that the management at the site even fed them, so that they didn’t touch the meat meant for sale.

An inspection at the facility showed that a batch of pork and beef that was originally meant to be exported to Russia was partly eaten by rats, and contained rat droppings, according to information posted by Tut.by.

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