Meat dumped at Riverton on sale downtown
For years vendors have been illegally peddling meat openly on the streets of downtown Kingston, but it has come to the attention of The Sunday Gleaner that the practice is even more unhygienic than what meets the eye.
On the news team's visit to the area last week, persons were seen along Spanish Town Road selling various meat kinds; some appearing discoloured and stale, as a foul odour filled the air with flies swarming and landing on everything in sight.
The Sunday Gleaner was able to purchase chicken, chicken foot, pork and pink salmon for $120, $60, $120 and $120 per pound, respectively. When checks were made with locations that sell meat wholesale, it was found that whole chicken went for $155.50 per pound while parts cost $170 per pound. Chicken foot (paw) is usually in the region of $90 per pound, pork ($330) and pink salmon ($1,284 per pound).
So where were these street-side vendors getting their meat from, which enabled them to sell it at such cheap prices?
The Sunday Gleaner's probe found that the answer to that question is the Riverton City disposal site.
"All of this is rejected meat," said Robert Hill, town clerk for the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC), while pointing out that he had heard of persons scavenging meat from the dumping site but did not know it was being sold only one kilometre (0.621 miles) from his office.
"But then again, we also need to look at how these companies are disposing of these things. Because I know that it is supposed to be buried in a particular way, because the disposal of reject meat is within the Kingston and St Andrew Public Health Act."
Some vendors in the area, who had knowledge of their colleagues' doings, confirmed that some of the meat being sold was in fact from the Riverton City disposal site.
"When the truck them come in from the big company them to dump the spoil meat, the man them race fi start dig through it and take out what they want," one woman told the news team. "When them come dump off the meat outa Riverton, the man them wash it wid things like vinegar and then them sell it for $120 per pound or $110 per pound."
Another woman who was close by told The Sunday Gleaner team that she suspected that one of the cookshops in her community has been purchasing rejected meat from the vendors downtown.
"I used to buy food from there (cookshop), but I realised that the meat had a smell, so I told him that I know that a Riverton meat him a buy," the woman related. "All him coulda say a 'who tell yu that?' So from that mi stop buy from him."
Another vendor chimed in: "One a my friend skin had on some bumps the other day and his father told him that is it (meat from Riverton) he used to grow up on, because the father usually sell it.
"It must stop man, a nastiness," she added.
Hill said he has brought the issue of persons removing meat from the dump to the attention the Kingston and St Andrew Public Health Department, as that falls within their jurisdiction.
"I have heard about it and I have brought that to the attention of the Kingston and St Andrew Public Health Department, because they (vendors) are looking to cause serious public-health hazard," Hill said. "Aside from the fact that they are illegally peddling meat, Kingston and St Andrew Public Health, which falls under the Ministry of Health, is to be responding to those issues directly.
"The fact of the matter is we (KSAC) can get them off the streets and they go behind somebody's fence and start doing it and say they open meat shop there."
The Kingston and St Andrew Public Health Department has promised to respond to The Sunday Gleaner's findings by tomorrow.