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Health Officials Step Up Surveillance of Roadside Slaughtering of Animals

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Contact: Julita Peter

Thursday, December 04, 2003 - The Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Health, is appealing to butchers to operate within the guidelines set up by the department. According to Parker Ragnanan, environmental health officer and manager of the ministry’s food safety program, consumers have a responsibility to ensure that they pay attention to the meats that are being sold especially during this time of year. He says consumers should refrain from purchasing local meats that do not carry an approved stamp from the environmental health department.

“St. Lucia does not have an abattoir and as a result, a lot of unregulated road-side slaughtering of animals take place. During Christmas time, people who throughout the year generally do not kill animals would at Christmas time kill a cow, or a pig and oftentimes offer the meat for sale. Therefore we want to appeal to the butchers, especially the non-regular butchers, to come to the department and to register with the department so that we can ensure that the areas used for slaughtering meet basic requirements as well as ensuring that the meats are fit for human consumption,” Ragnanan added.

The environmental health department will be deploying inspectors to the various slaughtering sites. The department has moved away from the traditional 24-hour surveillance and instead is urging that animals be slaughtered between the hours of 6:00am and 6:00 pm. Ragnanan says this time frame is necessary, as slaughtering sometimes takes place in areas that are poorly lit. Persons interested in slaughtering animals during the festive season, should obtain a schedule from the department that will provide information on the areas for inspection.


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