Thursday 2 April, 2020

St Lucians warned against consuming unsafe meat during festive season

The Veterinary and Livestock Services Division is warning against consuming unsafe meat during the festive season.

Veterinary Officer, Mrs Sharmaine Melville-Edwin is urging all butchers and meat handlers to ensure that all regulations and protocols are adhered to for the slaughter and sale of livestock.

Slaughtering of animals usually increases during the Christmas season and butchers must obtain specific permits and licenses in order to do so.

Veterinary Officer, Mrs Sharmaine Melville – Edwin

“Because this meat is going to be consumed by the public, we must ensure that it is safe and it is wholesome for consumption,” Melville-Edwin explained.

“Persons must go to the Ministry of Health who is the regulatory authority on food safety to get a temporary permit to slaughter. The Ministry of Health would then pass on the information to us at the Ministry of Agriculture at its Veterinary and Livestock Services Division,” she added.

The Veterinary and Livestock Services Division would then conduct an antemortem inspection.

“Our job is to ensure that the animal is fit to be slaughtered by doing physical examinations on it to make sure it is healthy. We would also put an ID tag on the animal in the form of an ear tag and issue an antemortem certificate so the officer doing the follow-up post mortem inspection will identify that the animal was indeed inspected.”

Following the post mortem examination, the carcass is then stamped by the Ministry of Health to indicate that the meat has been inspected and is safe and healthy for consumption.

“This is very important in order to ensure that all these meats that are being sold, especially by the roadside have been inspected and are fit for the public to consume.

An appeal was made by the department to consumers to not purchase meat that has not been inspected since it may have a disease or be unfit for human consumption.

If the necessary procedures are not followed, the Ministry of Health will then render them unfit for consumption and proceed to confiscate and discard the un-inspected meat.

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