Abattoir development wins major accolades
REVOLUTIONISING the Samoan slaughter industry resulted in Darwin man, David Frost, being awarded the World Bank's technical consultant of the year for 2016/17.
In Warwick last week to visit his stepmother Quita Hamer, Mr Frost said his work as a senior meat industries officer for the Northern Territory government led to an invitation from the World Bank to head up a life-changing project.
"The World Bank set out to reduce Samoa's dependence on imported food,” he said.
"I was sent over as a consultant to deal in the areas of livestock production and abattoir development.
"The first thing we did was design a mobile abattoir - an eight-tonne truck complete with chiller, crane, cradle and a specially-built trailer to complement.
"The crane, to lift the carcass, and the cradle, to keep the animal off the ground during the slaughter process.
"Traditionally, beasts were butchered on the ground under trees.”
Mr Frost said about 6000 head of cattle were available for slaughter in Samoa each year.
"It's not nearly enough though,” he said.
"They have cattle farms similar to here, but there are no yards - the cattle are free-range.
"Another drawback is the fact the farmers don't understand the science and ins and outs behind animal husbandry.”
Mr Frost said the mobile abattoir was built in Brisbane by Mike Warring and launched on one of Samoa's two main islands in 2016.
"We delivered the facility on time and on budget and were afforded the continued support from the Samoa Government,” he said.
"The idea behind the whole idea was to improve hygiene and methods.
"From there we started to train the locals on how to use the mobile abattoir properly.
"I brought several students to Australia for training in meat inspections - these students would then go on to oversee all of the slaughter in Samoa.”
Samoan tradition centres around gift-giving - at weddings, events, funerals and ceremonies all family members provide gifts of beasts or parts of.
Any meat not consumed often found its way into the supermarket system, second-hand food with no real way of telling how the meat had been stored and preserved.
Mr Frost said the abattoir system had essentially been set up to stop the leakage of this food into the retail sector.
"The system has undergone a massive overhaul,” he said.
"Even to the point that from 2019 it will be illegal to sell to supermarkets meat products that have not passed through the abattoir system, which was very much required.
"To further assist the industry to move in the right direction, I have also designed a full-scale abattoir to help increase compliance in the country.”
Mr Frost said the static abattoir would be built on one of the main islands and the mobile abattoir would be shifted to service the other.
"The construction of the abattoir is currently out to tender,” he said.
"But the hope is to build it in Queensland and ship to Samoa for assembly.
"It'll essentially be a flat pack set-up and of course I'll be heading back to Samoa to oversee the assembly and then the further training of abattoir staff in the country.
Mr Frost has a Bachelor's degree in Biology and recently completed a Masters degree in Food Science and Technology through the University of Queensland.