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Cook shop and restaurant operators urged not to buy ‘meat in a bucket’

Cook shop and restaurant operators urged not to buy ‘meat in a bucket’
Environmental health officer Junior Dowers

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Proprietors of restaurants and cook shops are being called to alter attitudes of buying “meat in buckets”, which in most cases are not inspected by a health inspector. 

Officials from the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Force; the Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Health and the Environment appeared on this week’s episode of The Press Room to discuss the issue of praedial larceny and what can be done about these crimes. 

Superintendent of Police Trevor Bailey said there needs to be a behavioural change among Vincentians.

“How can you be operating a cook shop or restaurant and for the sake of getting a piece of meat at a cheaper rate, you’re buying meat in a bucket to sell to people? It is not healthy. On no occasion, this meat is not inspected by the health inspector,” Bailey said on the programme which was carried live on SEARCHLIGHT’s Facebook page on Wednesday night. 

Bailey, who is also the Divisional Commander of the South Central Division, said it is really difficult to secure convictions and arrest individuals when the skin is already removed from animals. 

This is because it then becomes difficult to identify the meat. 

Environmental health officer Junior Dowers, outlined the process for slaughtering an animal, noting that it has to be inspected both ante and post mortem. 

“As a matter of fact, before the animal is slaughtered, the health department needs to be contacted so that the officer responsible for the respective area can carry out inspection…after slaughtering, if it is for consumption, a certificate would be given and that certificate should be given — the person who will be doing the purchase will examine that certificate to verify that yes, it was inspected, stamped and signed by a health officer,” Dowers said. 

The Environmental Health Officer said established supermarkets will not buy meat unless they are able to examine the certificate issued by the health department. 

He added that the breakdown comes from establishments like restaurants and cook shops whose operators don’t necessarily follow the procedures. 

“…Citizens are being unscrupulous. They know the drill. They know the right and the wrong way but just for the saving of a few bucks, they rather put people’s lives at risk rather than doing what should be done,” Dowers said. 

Livestock owners continually cry out over the theft of their animals, with the culprits now taking to slaughtering the animal on the spot and carrying away the portions of the carcass they want.

Some countries in the region have established official abattoirs where meat is sold so as to minimise instances of stolen meat being sold. 

Renato Gumbs, this country’s Chief Agricultural Officer said an abattoir is high on the government’s agenda. 

“If you look in the estimates, you’ll see an outline that priority is being given to the construction of an abattoir,” he said, adding that it was important, and not just for preventing stolen meat from being sold but also as it relates to regulating sales in the hotel industry. 

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