Iraqis are familiar with news about seizing food items that is not suitable for human consumption, in ports and markets across the nation.
The health department of Baghdad announced the seizure of more than 223 tons of food during the last month, according to health supervision official Raad Mohamed al-Taei.
Al-Tai said: "The destruction of this quantity was through 48 health campaigns and visiting 7064 shops and 319 plants."
Imported meat, which represent one of the main components of the imported food to Iraq, is usually purchased by low-income people because of cheap prices compared to the local meats. The price of one kilogram of imported meat is equal to the price of about a quarter of the local meat.
The reason behind the hight prices of Iraqi meat is the low number of cows and sheep that reach Baghdad, as well as its high quality, which made them subject to smuggling.
Iranian meat, IRGC
A member of Iran’s Agriculture Commission in parliament says smuggling of domestic livestock out of country, especially to Iraq, has been intensified, leading to price hikes, Radio Farda reported.
“Due to the weak controls on smuggling, the management of anti-smuggling efforts has been handed to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),” Ali Mohammad Shaeri told state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) on March 11.
"I have heard that livestock imported to Iran are being immediately reloaded on ships and planes to be exported to other countries,” said Shaeri’s fellow MP, Nasser Mousavi Largani.
The government subsidizes essential food imports by supplying cheap dollars and smuggling the meat out of the country means some people are making huge profits.
Red meat prices soared last February, reaching 1,200,000 rials per kilo (approximately $10 per 2.2 pounds based on free market rate), according to some reports. Images of people waiting in long lines to buy poultry and beef at subsidized prices were widely circulated on the social media at the time.
This might seem to be reasonable prices in other countries but minimum wage in Iran is less than a $100 monthly.
The Ministry of Agricultural Jihad, the body overseeing agriculture in Iran, has declared it was offering subsidized meat for sale online.