Letter of the day: Clamp down on rotten meat madness
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Something must be radically wrong with Jamaica. We have more laws on the books than 'John can read about', yet it seems they cannot protect us. The question of recycled meat has been making the news for weeks now and long before the Riverton dump fire, yet very little, if anything, has been done about it.
The recent news releases are only reminders of the same subject matter that has arisen before. All the authorities, parish and municipal councils, and public-health inspectors have been pointing fingers at each other regarding who is responsible, so nobody takes the blame and nobody does anything about it.
One of the most common excuses is that there is no money to do what is necessary. Why is spoilt meat allowed to be discarded in the dump in such an improper manner? Is this also the manner in which outdated canned products are dumped at Riverton and other dumps and eventually find their way back to the market?
News out of Montego Bay also states that uncertified meat was seized in the Charles Gordon Market. How closely are other markets inspected? It will just be another nine-day wonder, so we will soon forget it. After all, it is poor people who buy this for their families, so it doesn't matter. Fortunately, Jamaicans cook their meats properly, otherwise many would get sick more often.
It was recently on the news that there was a fish kill in the Portmore area. This is a regular occurrence in the Kingston Harbour as well because of the pollution of that once beautiful waterway. With all that is happening and the slackness of the authorities, how can we be sure that some of this fish does not enter the market? Who inspects fish that is sold on the street to ensure the safety of the consumers? The swarms of flies and the dirtiness of the surrounding areas in which the vending of those products takes place make you wonder what you are really consuming.
I heard announcements recently about abattoirs that are to be built in different areas of Jamaica. Will the existing ones be fixed first? I am yet to see public meat markets operating under modern hygienic standards. One of the closest must be the Cross Roads Market.
There was a time when butchers displayed their names, licence and price lists above their stalls. Is this law still in effect or, like so many others, lapsed out of existence because of lack of enforcement?
President, National Consumers League